Every year thousands of police officers reach retirement age. Many of them go on to second careers in industry, sales, retail, or private security. Donna Roman Hernandez took a different road.
Donna is a retired police captain from Caldwell, NJ. Having spent 28 years on the job, she retired and began following her heart. She began making movies, documentaries and other short films. Donna started her own film production company “Blue Force Films."
Using real life stories of police officers and the things that happened to them during their careers, she began telling their stories. Her films have won numerous film festival awards, accolades and contests all across the country.
One of the many heroes she featured includes Sgt. Ken Hogan, who survived a deadly shooting incident while on duty in north Jersey. Titled “A Call for Valor,” it’s a film that gives you the sergeant's point of view as the incident unfolded and is a primer for all police officers on being prepared, mental attitude and the will to survive.
Another award winner was the “Newark Street Preachers.” A true tale of the men from Newark, inspired by the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, they use non-violence to deal with many of society's toughest problems.
In 2010, Donna created a web TV series called “Crossing Blood Lines.” This project won the NY film festival for best new web series. It’s the fictional tale of a fictional northern Jersey town.
The main characters and plot lines follow a group of police officers and some of their relatives who are involved in the world of organized crime. The action is gritty, the emotion real, and the stories and characters grab you and hold your attention. Donna is currently trying to move the web series forward and turn Crossing Blood Lines (CBL) into a feature length movie.
Of all the work she has done and all the awards she has received the most powerful story she tells is her own. Donna is the survivor of domestic violence. Her movie “ The Ultimate Betrayal: A Survivor's Journey” is the story of her own family and their battle to survive her father's attacks on Donna and her mother.
The film doesn’t hold anything back. As the writer and director, she revealed everything about those harrowing times and the situations that threatened not only her family but her very life.
Once you see the film you will be amazed at Donna's strength, resilience and ability to survive such intense violence. To know her makes her even more amazing. She has a love of life and people that is overwhelming in its scope.
Knowing where she has come from and what she lived through should provide hope for anyone in a similar situation, as well as the rest of us as we celebrate her life and the spirit of hope the films leaves you with.
Some other films include “Fallen Blue Heroes,” a tribute to the officers who have paid the ultimate price, and “Closure” an award winning short film about 9/11 and the effects of that day.
Those achievements alone would be enough for most ordinary people, but not for Donna Roman Hernandez. She also writes a monthly column for the NJ Cops magazine, a magazine for police officers published by the NJ State PBA. Donna also hosts her own weekly Internet radio show, “The Jersey Beat,” where she discusses topics of interest to police officers and civilians alike. She is a one woman army.
On any given night, Donna can be found talking to women’s groups, survivors' groups, shooting footage for her next film or helping a friend in need. Her life story is awesome, her energy is infectious and her optimism is a beacon for all who know her.
She is one to watch in the future and you can say you heard about her here first. I am proud to call her my friend and inspiration. I am not ready to retire just yet, but I know when I do make that move there will be plenty to keep me busy if I want to follow Donna's lead.
If you would like to learn more about Donna and Blue Force Films or see her movies go to www.blueforcefilms.com You can also see her web series by going to www.kickstarter.com and look up Crossing Blood Lines. You too will be inspired by a truly unique person and police officer, Donna Roman Hernandez.
Let me know what you think. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and read my blog at www.jpangaro.blogspot.com