The phone stayed silent for two hours before Lee told his wife, "I guess no one wants to talk to me". She says that Lee has received so many phone calls and texts, that they are now requesting e-mails. She shared Hernanez's dying wish with a number of Veteran communities, and eventually his number made its way to the Arizona Veterans Forum's Facebook page.
But all of that changed when Hernandez's wife reached out to Caregivers of Wounded Warriors.
To help cheer up Lee, Ernestine is asking people to give him a call or send him a text because it helps to lift his spirits. The Texan veteran has undergone three brain surgeries, and his body is deteriorating very fast.
Her Facebook post was quickly spread around the Internet, and in a matter of days, his phone was overwhelmed with over 70,000 text messages from people around the world.
Hernandez served for 27 years and did one tour in Iraq. "They are an excellent support group of wives and ladies who know the struggles of what we go through", Ernestine said. Many come from veterans and people who want to let him know he is not alone. Nevertheless, Ernestine said her husband is a "fighter" and has "beaten the odds and his strong will keeps him going". "It really uplifts him".
Ernestine took matters into her own hands, contacting a support group to help drum up some phone calls. After just three days Lee was said to have received over 53,000 text messages and been inundated with calls from across the U.S. and even overseas.
The Arizona Republic said the best time to call or text is between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Ernestine says that if he doesn't respond, it's simply because he's in too much pain.
"The experience is very painful, but I wouldn't have it any other way", Ernestine said.
Recently, Lee Hernandez asked his wife to hold his phone for him.