Senior Guide 2023-2

64 The Best of Monterey Bay® Living Well 2023-2024 Guadalupe Lopez can still picture the sacks and boxes of products transported from Oaxaca to her aunt’s living room in Seaside. Floor space would be taken by stacks of tortillas, chapulines, quesillo cheese and other goods. She also watched the toll of polio her aunt contracted as a child as it tugged on the older woman’s body.“I remember seeing my aunt walk with a limp, then a cane, then crutches and now a wheelchair,” Lopez notes. Her aunt is Minerva Hernández, owner of El Milagro Restaurant, with locations in Seaside and Salinas. She is a woman always moving forward, no matter the confrontations of life.When she opened El Milagro on Broadway Avenue with no understanding of the restaurant business, everyone—including her landlord—doubted her decision. “Give me a chance to show you that the mind is greater than the body,” was Hernández’s response. It’s a phrase that applies not just to her business, but to her life more broadly. She came to the U.S. in the early 1990s.After some time, with $250 sent by her parents, Hernández visited a doctor only to be told a few hundred dollars would be nowhere near enough. Although she struggled to walk and had no transportation other than buses, she took hotel and house cleaning jobs. Convinced there was a demand for products from her native Oaxaca, she urged a friend who planned to visit there to bring back a list of items. “I sold them in one day,” Hernández recalls. It led to a store on Fremont in Seaside—her first official business, selling colorful crafts. Hernandez opened El Milagro restaurant 15 years ago and it remains popular.The name translates as “The Miracle”—but the fates were not through with her just yet. When the pandemic arrived, Hernandez became very sick from Covid. Her mother and brother both died from the virus. Nothing had ever stopped Hernández.Although the death of loved ones came close, her son inspired her to carry on.“You have to move forward,” she says. Lopez remains in awe of Hernández’s strength. “As an adult, I now wonder how she was able to overcome all the adversity and become the businesswoman she is now,”Lopez says. Simply put, Hernández has never allowed anything to stop her. Staff writer Celia Jiménez contributed to this story. Unstoppable Woman Restaurateur Minerva Hernández has never allowed disability—or anything else—to get in the way. By Dave Faries DANIEL DREIFUSS Bienestar- Marina • Wed 8-4:30pm • Miercoles 8-4:30pm 831-755-4353 Laurel Internal Medicine/ Laurel Medicina Interna • M-F 8-5pm • 2nd and 3rd Thurs 9- 5pm • L-V 8-5pm • 2do y 3ro Jueves 9-5pm 831-769-8640 Laurel Family Practice/ Laurel Medicina Familiar • M- Thu 8-5pm • 2nd Fri 9-5pm • L-J 8-5pm • 2do Viernes 9-5pm 831-755-4123 Laurel Pediatrics/ Laurel Pediatria • M-F 7-5PM • 1st and 3rd Wed 9-5pm • L-V 7-5PM • 1º y 3ro Viernes 9-5pm 831-755-4124 Laurel Vista • M-Thu 8-5pm • 2nd Fri 9-5pm • L-J 8-5pm • 2do Viernes 9-5pm 831-755-4000 Monterey County Clinic at Marina/Clinica del Condado de Monterey en Marina • M-F 7-4pm, Wed 8-4pm • L-V 7-4pm, Miercoles 8-4pm 831-883-7558 NIDO • M-F 8-4:30pm • 2nd Tues 9-4:30pm • L-V 8-4:30pm • 2do Martes 9-4:30pm 831-796-1770 Seaside Family Health Center/Centro de Salud Familiar Seaside • M-F 7-5pm • 2nd and 4th Friday of the month 9-5pm Healthcare Services Servicios De Atención Médica