Writer: Kyle Pearson
Being a paramedic is a great responsibility, being in charge of multiple lives within a single shift that can last up to twenty-four hours. For Edgar Garcia, 23, being a paramedic holds a special significance to not only where he comes from but how he got to where he is today.
Edgar Garcia was born and raised in Houston Texas, being the son of dual immigrant parents, his mother from Cuernavaca Morelos Mexico and his father from Guanajuato Mexico, the opportunities Garcia have had were very limited.
“My parents would never let me hang out with my friends, you either got to play for a short while or you worked for a long while.” Edgar Garcia said when asked about his childhood experience.
Garcia spent most of his young adult life helping his dad move slabs of rock. His father not speaking any English at the time, it was up to Garcia to translate and work the key maps since the family couldn’t afford any type of GPS. Although Garcia never got paid for this work he said it taught him how to “Get a job done right.”
“I was a bad kid, always getting into trouble even though my parents did the best they could.” Edgar Garcia stated when asked what his life was like before becoming a paramedic.
As Garcia entered high school he found a growing interest in science, especially in the medical field. Due to him rarely showing up to class and consistently misbehaving when he did no teachers ever gave him an opportunity to better grow his interests, until Garcia met Ms. Jones. Ms. Jones was a teacher of Edgar Garcia that took him under her wing and recommended him for the Health Occupation Students of America, or HOSA. The program allowed students in high school to gain dual credit and have an easier transition into becoming an EMT and eventually a paramedic.
“He was angry and felt everyone was out to get him, but I saw something different than him being just mad and out of control, I saw he was smart.” Said Ms. Jones after being asked what Garcia was like before the HOSA program and why she gave him the chance she did.
As Garcia attempted to get recommendations for the program four teachers refused to sign the letters. After Ms. Jones escorted him to each teacher who refused, they reluctantly signed. Ms. Jones had successfully given Garcia an opportunity he may have never gotten.
“I had one chance, I knew I couldn’t mess this up.” Said Edgar Garcia when asked what Ms. Jones taking a chance like this meant to him.
25 students were accepted into HOSA, with only six registering to become EMTs, Edgar Garcia was the only student to test out to become a paramedic being in the very top percentile of the program. Garcia began working for a hospital as a paramedic at 18 years old freshly graduated from high school. When asked how this changed his lifestyle Garcia said it “Made me take life seriously, it’s not a normal job it made me see the world differently.”
Edgar Garcia plans on finishing his physician assistant degree at the University of North Texas, hoping to eventually be able to diagnose patients and diagnose medicine they may need. Coming from a situation where Garcia had little to nothing to strive for, he received one chance which made all the difference in his life.
“I started the job doing it for the adrenaline and the team aspect, but soon found out I love helping people, I like to give even though I don’t have much.”