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March 7, 2021

Local role model drowns at Brunswick Heads

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Role model: José Said Luviano Hernandez, who drowned at Brunswick Heads on Thursday, January 31. Photo supplied

It was with enormous sadness that family and friends found out that José Said Luviano Hernandez had drowned near Brunswick Heads last Thursday (January 31).

The 36-year-old-Mexican had been living and working in Byron Shire and getting involved with the local community both coaching and mentoring junior soccer players as well as playing in the in the senior men’s futsal team.

‘I could tell you for days about how great a man he was, simply someone who would make your day better just for witnessing his smile,’ said his friend and manager Daniel Tiffin at the Mullumbimby IGA.

‘Jose coached and mentored junior soccer players who idolised him as a role model.’

Daniel first met Jose when he walked into the IGA in Mullumbimby in February 2018 and Daniel immediately knew he would be a wonderful person to have on the team.

‘I hired him instantly, I just went with my gut. It felt like it was meant to happen,’ said Daniel.

‘His gentle tone was so calming; he never seemed stressed or under pressure, always composed himself even throughout stressful circumstances.’

There is a go-fund-me page and funds are being raised to help his family return Jose’s body home to Mexico.

‘The community has rallied together in the wake of this tragedy and enormous support has been shown,’ said Daniel.

There is also a memorial at the front of the store, and a book in which people can write a memory of Jose and sign.

‘My fondest memory of Jose is that he used to get so frustrated when people put empty boxes on the back bench, they literally would just stack them until they were spilling everywhere. After cleaning this up before his shift one day I got out a permanent marker and wrote on the wall “do not leave boxes here with arrows in every direction” he started his shift with the biggest smile I have ever seen and I said, “I’ve got ya back, brother”.

‘This sign still stands and I will forever uphold it in his memory,’ said Daniel.

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  1. A very tragic and sad loss of life.
    I know of the heart break, the total loss and devastation to loose a son so young.
    Thoughts and prayers to family and friends, and life guards who tried to revive Jose.
    Please, let’s all help to get this boy home to his family.
    Debra Conomy

  2. Said, as I knew him (pronounced Sa-ee-d), ran the first ever high-performance team for our club in Mexico. Ironically, for a country where football was regarded as mostly for men and tom-boyish women, this was a middle-school girls’ squad. And it was beautiful to watch them play.

    The connection he developed with his players was eerie. It was much more than the coach-athlete bond that develops when things work well. He seemed to have their backs and they responded to him with intense loyalty. To be honest, I was sometimes concerned that it could be read wrong, but this just never happened: Said was as professional as they come, as good a confidant as any sister, and as demanding a coach as I’ve ever met.

    The best tribute I can think of was how every girl on his team played to make him proud. And I believe, ironically, that his nature was such that he was proud of them unconditionally.

    At his wake here in Mexico City, I said my goodbyes. He taught me the meaning of being bold in self-belief. Of trusting in myself ‘when all men doubt’ (beginning with myself).

    I miss him.


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