COLORADO SPRINGS. Col. Vic Fernandez, a 30-year Army veteran who was named El Paso County Military Veteran of the Year in 2018 for his efforts to bring a veterans cemetery to the Pikes Peak region, died Sept. 16 at age 84. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Oct. 13 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Colorado Springs. Burial followed at Pikes Peak National Cemetery.
Fernandez was born Aug. 21, 1937, in Trinidad, Colorado, the first of seven children born to Valentine and Genevieve Fernandez. He attended Holy Trinity School.
He entered the United States Military Academy West Point at the age of 17 and graduated four years later in the class of 1959. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Artillery. During his career he served two tours in Panama, two in Vietnam and two in Germany. In addition to various stateside postings, he is a graduate of the Army War College and the Command and General Staff College.
His military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, a Meritorious Unit Citation earned by the battery under his command in Vietnam and various Vietnam Campaign and Service Awards.
After retiring from the Army, Fernandez remained active in Colorado Springs Veterans affairs, serving as President of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Military Officer’s Association of America, founding member of the board of The Home Front Cares and Team Leader of a group welcoming soldiers returning from combat theaters in Iran and Afghanistan and throughout the world.
For two decades, Fernandez served as chairman of the Pikes Peak National Veteran’s Cemetery Committee. His dream for a national veterans’ cemetery in Southeast Colorado Springs became a reality in 2008, and the cemetery was officially dedicated on May 25, 2018. It received its first burials in November 2018. The 374-acre cemetery will eventually contain 95,000 graves and columbarium niches.
He was one of the founding members of Knights of Columbus Council No. 12228 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Colorado Springs and served as its Grand Knight from 2005-2007.He and his wife Sherry earned the honor of Family of the Year in the State of Colorado in 2010.
Fernandez is survived by his wife, Sherry, granddaughter Kat Taylor, brothers Dennis (Cheryl), Mitch, Gerard, and his sister Marian (Ron) Horton, his sisters-in-law Carol Fernandez (Daniel), Carol Fernandez (John), Valarie Book (Ron), brother-in-law Kevin Shields (Lynn), son-in-law Mark Sherratt, and 12 nieces and nephews.