Marines across the country reacted to the death of a Marine’s parents in Uvalde, Texas with shock and generosity.
Irma Garcia, a fourth-grade teacher and Navy mother, was killed Tuesday, May 24, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, leaving behind her husband of 24 years, Joe Garcia, and four children — including the eldest, Cristian Garcia, is a private first class in the US Marine Corps.
Irma Garcia’s web page on the school’s website stated that Cristian Garcia finished training camp last year. He is now a reserve administrative clerk with the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Two days after the shooting, the Garcia family received a tragic second blow when Joe Garcia died of a heart attack. Relatives said they believed he died of a “broken heart”. According to a GoFundMe page created for the family, Cristian Garcia is now the carer for his younger siblings.
“I offer my deepest condolences to all Marines who may have been affected by this tragedy,” said Maj. Jim Stenger, spokesman for the Marine Corps. Marine Corps Time. “I’m confident that Marines – veterans in the community and returning to the unit – will rally in grief as they mourn their loved ones.”
Irma Garcia taught at the school for 23 years and was honored in 2019 as a finalist for the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
Cristian Garcia told NBC News that a law enforcement friend said Irma Garcia died protecting her students from gunfire.
According to Irma Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, Joe Garcia collapsed after returning home from laying flowers at his memorial.
“He wasn’t home more than three minutes after he sat down in a chair with the family,” Martinez told NBC News. “He just fell. They tried doing chest compressions, and nothing worked.
Martinez and her family have organized a GoFundMe campaign in memory of Irma and Joe Garcia that has raised over $2 million so far.
“They really are a real American family,” Martinez told USA today. “They instilled great values and morals in their children.”
Irma and Joe Garcia are survived by their children Cristian, Jose, Lyliana and Alysandra. Jose is a student at Texas State University, while the two girls are in high school and college respectively. Irma Garcia wrote on the school’s webpage that she enjoyed “barbecueing with my husband, listening to music, and taking cruises in Concan.”
In addition to Garcia, 19 children were killed in the school shooting, along with another teacher: Eva Mireles, 44; Nevaeh Bravo, 10 years old; Jacklyn Cazares, 9; Makenna Lee Elrod, 10; Jose Flores, 10 years old; Ellie Garcia, 9; Uziya Garcia, 10 years old; Amerie Jo Garza, 10; Jayce Luevanos, 10; Tess Mata, 10; Miranda Mathis, 11; Xavier López, 10 years old; Alithia Ramírez, 10 years old; Annabell Rodríguez, 10; Maïté Rodriguez, 10 years old; Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, 10; Layla Salazar, 10; Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10; Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10; and Rojelio Torres, 10.
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