Carmen passed away peacefully on Friday, September 17, surrounded by family. Born in Havana, Cuba on December 26, 1932, Carmen was passionate about helping others from a very young age. As a teenager, she and her friends ministered to poor families in the small, rural town of La Lisa, and she later went on a mission trip to Mexico that strengthened her faith even further. Carmen studied social work at the University of Havana before immigrating to the United States in 1960. She completed her undergraduate studies at George Mason University, while also starting a family with her husband, Jorge. She went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from The Catholic University of America, which opened the door to her 25-year career at Arlington County’s Child Protective Services.
While working for Arlington County, Carmen saw the need to advocate for Spanish-speaking immigrants in the area of child protective services and to assist them with the challenges of parenting within the context of cultural transition. In 1985, Carmen founded Hispanics against Child Abuse and Neglect (HACAN), with the mission of strengthening families, empowering youth, and preventing child abuse through culturally competent education, intervention, and community advocacy.
In addition to being an active member of St. Anthony’s parish and serving her community tirelessly, Carmen was also a wonderful, loving, and devoted mother to her 4 children: Silvia (daughter) and husband, Parker Brugge; Jorge (son) and wife, Deana; Celia (daughter) and husband, George Fruchterman; and Javier Fernandez (son), as well as her 11 grandchildren (Connor, Caroline, and Chris Brugge; Cristina, Elena, Lily, and Gigi Fernandez; and Teresa, Patrick, Matthew, and Maria Fruchterman).
Visitation will be held at Everly Funeral Home in Falls Church on Sunday, September 26, from 4pm - 6pm. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church on September 27 at 10:00am. In remembrance of Carmen’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to Hispanics Against Child Abuse and Neglect (HACAN) at: P.O. Box 1803, Falls Church, Virginia 22041 or online through HACAN’s website: https://www.hacanva.org/.
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