Top First Responder: Richard Garcia
Sept. 26, 2012 at 4:26 a.m.
At what point did you decide you wanted to be a paramedic/EMT/Lavaca County health coordinator? And Why?
I'm guessing it was back in the mid '70s watching "Emergency" on TV. Roy and Johnny were out helping and saving people and popping those covers off the bicarb syringes. That looked like some happening stuff. I must have thought to myself, "You can do that." The seed of public service was planted and the rest is history. Lots of history.
How long have you been a paramedic/EMT/Lavaca County health coordinator?
In December, it will be 22 years in the EMS field with 11 as a paramedic (so far). I'm relatively new as the wellness coordinator. That spot I was sort of just dragged into almost four years ago.
What is the most gratifying part of your job?
For me, getting to help somebody when they can't help themselves does it for me. Not everybody likes to ask for help, especially when it comes to health concerns. So we go and do the best we can for you.
As a paramedic/EMT/Lavaca County health coordinator, what was the hardest part during your training?
That would have to be accepting the weight of responsibility that rests on a paramedic's shoulders. What we do could have a real impact on whether a person possibly lives or dies. Then we got to believe in a higher power. We do what we can with our hands, drugs, machines and knowledge but sometimes there is a poor outcome despite our best efforts.
How do you de-stress from work?
That comes on Tuesday evenings with two and a half hours of bingo. Don't mess with my bingo night. Then there is just hanging out at the farm in Mount Eden (Gonzales County).
What hobbies/interests do you have?
I love competition cooking with Cow County Cookers and with Team Porko. Of course, I'm the chief bean cooker - go figure. And yes, I have trophies. Oh, I like the stalker pages (Facebook).
Who is your hero and why?
That would be Ralph G. Rodriguez - my "a pa grande" or my grandpa. He was my dominant male role model and I was blessed to have him for 40 years. He served in the Army during World War II. In the late '80s, he got me to join a civic club in town - the Kiwanis. I was even president back in 1989. His love for helping others and the community helped propel me to public service and to give back to others.
With holidays around the corner, what is on the top of your wish list this year?
World peace, haha. If I can't have that, can I get six consecutive winning lotto numbers on the same ticket?
Did you believe in Santa Claus? If so, how old were you when you stopped believing in Santa Claus?
Are you saying there is no Santa Claus? Oh Holy Moses, no Santa Claus. I guess 45. No really, I guess I stopped believing when I was in second grade, and I was Santa in our music pageant.
What are three things that you could not live without?
I'm not into electronics much and technology so I would say the 3 Fs: Faith, Family, Friends. All of these go into the person I am. The professional me, the player me, the private me. The faith allows me to turn things over to God and the ability to treat folks they way I would want to be treated. The family is my biggest fan base and supporters. The friends are my escape and my sounding boards. If I need to scream and yell and get junk off my chest, they are there for me. My Uncle Bobby once told my mom, "Sis, you know Richard Darrell sure has some good friends and not just on pay day."