In memory of Isabel Sanchez Hernandez and Moisés Rios
Leniya Morrow, features editor
The Augsburg community is saddened by the passing of Maria Isabel Sanchez Hernandez and Moisés Rios. Isabel and Moisés were both staff at Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) site in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The married couple passed away on Feb. 21 and Feb. 23 from COVID-19. They had been battling the virus for the past month. In their passing, they left behind their five children, Andres, Miriam, Diego, Rosa, Sliri and one grandchild.
Hernandez was born and raised in Cuernavaca, Morelos. She started working for CGEE as a cleaner in the 90s. After taking a few years off, she returned in 2006. The CGEE director, Ann Lutterman-Aguilar, stated in her remembrance letter that “Isabel loved to sing while she worked and was known always to be smiling. She took English lessons so that she could communicate better with students, and she often stayed late, well beyond her work shift, so that she could help students with their Spanish homework.” She was known to work hard at home and was very dedicated to her five children. Lutterman-Aguilar shares her grief with the community, stating that Hernandez “was a colleague and a dear friend, someone who would always go the extra mile for the people around her. Her passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts.”
Rios was also born in Cuernavaca, Morelos. Ann Lutterman-Aguilar described him as “a very physically strong but gentle and caring man who loved his family above all else.” Like Hernandez, Rios was dedicated to providing a good life for his family. As a watchman for the Cuernavaca site, Rios took pride in keeping the campus safe. Rios was known as a hard worker who always sought to earn extra income in order to provide for his family. Outside of being a night watchman, Rios was a driver. During his time there, he would take students on their excursions around Cuernavaca. Though he did not know much English, that didn’t stop him from forming meaningful connections with students and faculty alike. Lutterman-Aguilar writes that “Words were not a barrier for Moi.” Rios was known to practice his English with students. Despite language differences, Rios always found a way to connect with people. His warmth and kindness could break down any barrier.
COVID-19 is still an ongoing crisis that claims thousands of lives each day. Augsburg faculty and staff have been putting in extra efforts to keep students, staff and faculty safe throughout the pandemic. The loss of these colleagues can be felt in Cuernavaca and Minneapolis alike. We honor the contributions that Hernandez and Rios made to serve the Augsburg community in Cuernavaca. Their dedication, warm hearts and caring spirits will be remembered. May they rest in peace.