Obed Garcia was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, by his loving parents, who moved to America in their late twenties from Mexico. Garcia serves as the Direct Services Manager for the Texas Gulf Coast Region and lives in Edinburgh, Texas, with his loving family.
His first contact with the American Red Cross came in late 2019 when Garcia and his wife welcomed a new baby boy into their blended family, which led him to attend an American Red Cross cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class for babies at his child’s daycare. Garcia learned of the instructor’s Hispanic background and became interested in the volunteer work she participated in for the American Red Cross. She informed him of the need for representation of Hispanics and the ability for people to speak Spanish in their native tongue. Once learning the need for translators, he decided to apply as a volunteer out of pure curiosity.
As a first-generation college graduate, Garcia has a passion for learning. He took his passion and curiosity to the volunteer role in the communication department. Once in the department, he captured pictures, wrote stories, conducted interviews and created social media posts. The connections made in the communication department led Garcia to become the Disaster Program Specialist (DPS), where he worked over several Texas territories before becoming the Direct Services Manager.
After becoming manager, Garcia’s main goal for South Texas was to work with vulnerable communities. To accomplish his goal, he’s reached out to different organizations, mainly promotores de salud, which is the Spanish term for “community health workers”. Garcia was able to branch out and network with the community, as well as reach out to volunteers who only speak Spanish. Most importantly, it allowed the ability to speak to clients in their native tongue that has lost everything.
During Hispanic Heritage month (and every month), he enjoys trying new cooking methods, as well as getting back to his Hispanic roots in the kitchen. After the passing of his mother, he found himself in the kitchen to teach himself their family recipes. Since starting his new hobby, he’s found a passion for experimenting with food and techniques.
He has been deployed 15 times in his short career with the American Red Cross. Garcia’s latest deployment provided relief for the North Texas Floods, but the most memorable was his deployment to Louisiana for Latino engagement. His focus was on the Latino community, and his purpose for deployment was to look for communities that did not speak or read the language.
“I’m really moved by what we are trying to do,” Garcia said. “It has touched and affected me the most because I’m able to help and hug people at their worst times. I really hope we get to a place where we can reach more people with different language barriers, but we are getting there little by little.”
Story by Kyndal Dugger