“I've never asked for help before.”
Photo: Anne Fishbein
Now in his 60s, Joe Garcia is raising four grandchildren. When two of them needed eye surgery, Joe made sure their needs were met. But over the past few years, there was something he wasn’t letting on: Joe was losing his own vision.
It turned out he had cataracts, and he needed surgery. “I had no insurance,” Joe told us. “I was kind of in denial. But eventually I had to hold the phone two inches from my face just to read the texts.”
A friend in Joe’s Lions Club told him to come to LSH for assistance, but he hesitated at first. “I’ve never asked for help,” Joe says. “I’ve worked since I was 12 years old.” By this time, though, he had to take his granddaughter along with him in the car so she could read the street signs for him.
Joe finally filled out an application. He was amazed at how quickly his surgery was scheduled. And he was in for a few surprises after his surgery.
“It was like a miracle,” Joe recalls, getting a bit choked up. “My whole life I’ve never been able to see, apparently. I’d look at the mountains and I just thought they were dirt. Now I can see they’re made of rocks. I can see individual houses up there.”
Now Joe has the confidence to know he can fulfill his most important mission: “Everything I do is for the little ones,” he says. “My commitment from Day 1 was to watch these kids graduate from college.”