PPick most any Saturday afternoon, and a quick drive south on Main Street will bring you to the Boerne Express Car Wash. Undoubtedly, you will find a line of dirty cars heading into the car wash tunnel, and an equally long line of clean cars on their way out.
An extremely successful local business, it is due to the service the business provides (and does so flawlessly), but is also due to Lalo Hernandez, who takes serious pride in his work…both at the car wash – and at the church he pastors.
Lalo, with a thick Spanish accent, begins, “I spent my early days in Eagle Pass. I moved with my dad down to Mexico until I was 14, and then spent many years in East Texas, where I ultimately got married.”
Lalo worked at a car wash in the East Texas area, and the owner was opening the location here in town 2006. “He moved me here to run it. I was so excited because the pay was great, and I could also continue my schooling in the area to get my degree from the Baptist University of America in San Antonio. I quickly received my Ministries degree not long after moving here.”
That’s right, our friend Lalo is also an ordained pastor and leads the La Primera de Boerne, or the First Hispanic Baptist Church.
He continues, “I work the car wash all day every day and then every night we’re doing something with the church. I’m preaching Thursday nights and Sunday mornings. The church is doing great and we’re seeing between 50 and 75 people most days.”
The car wash is doing even better, largely due to Lalo’s efforts and leadership. “We do on average about 500 cars a day most days. My record was over 1000 cars. When it’s raininig or slow, I find things I can do more on the business end so I stay busy. The owners now are so great for the business and they provide us with what we need and I’m so thankful for that. I keep the place with the best equipment and ensuring that it’s all working perfectly. We check the chemicals, the equipment, and just ensuring the people are happy.”
But what gets Lalo up each morning, ready to tackle his responsibilities? “My favorite part? Oh, it’s just talking with people. Some customers come to the office just looking for me but mainly I just stop by while they are vacuuming. I love just shaking their hands and ensuring their happiness. It makes my heart smile, you know? Of course my family keeps me busy as well. My wife Laura and I have 3 kids – 1 is a senior at CHS, 1 is at BHS, and one is at Currington. They keep me so busy and I just love it.”
While Lalo works the car wash during the day, Laura works hard behind the scenes handling “church things” as Lalo calls it, throughout each day, and then they come together in the evening to continue that work together.
A busy man, Lalo is appreciative for his employment at the car wash, which he sees as the opportunity to work equally as hard on his spiritual journey of leading the church. “What I believe is every day when I wake up, the first thing I say is THANK GOD FOR ANOTHER DAY. Let me enjoy it. I thank God for my job, my family, and my blessings. To know God, choosing who you marry, and what you’re doing for your work are the 3 most important things in a man’s life. Some people think I’m the owner because I’m always working on the car wash and I like that they think that. I constantly think about how to improve things and work with my employees. I’ve got employees that have been with me for 10 years now and what I do with them is that I like them to feel like they’re part of my family – when they have a problem or situation, they come to me and talk about it. I feel sometimes like I’m the father to many of these young guys I work with, and that’s probably my favorite part. I appreciate every new day and try to make it the best – life is a gift from God and my life is such a gift given to me personally from God Himself and that’s quite humbling and I make sure I honor him. In every way I can.”