That’s the place where the Garcia family chose to plant a tree that the city gave them to celebrate Anthony’s legacy.
It was a day of mixed emotions said Anthony’s mother, Lupe Garcia. The family is sad that Anthony is not here with them, but they are grateful for all the support from the community.
“It means a lot to us,” Lupe Garcia said. “It keeps us going.”
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Anthony died last year on Easter Sunday of cancer; he would have been 19 years old Saturday. That’s why the family decided to have a formal tree dedication for Anthony on that day to celebrate his birthday.
The dedication ceremony started with a speech from Brawley Mayor George Nava, followed by a blessing from St. Anthony’s Church parishioner Marcos Lopez.
Rusty Garcia, Anthony’s father, thanked the community and the city for the support and said that the tree not only represents life, but also strength.
He noted that even though winds have been strong in the past few days, the tree has stood strong “just like Anthony was.”
“Anthony was strong until the end.” Rusty Garcia said.
Nava said that seeing the community show up at the dedication was a reflection of how Anthony’s spirit has brought the city together.
“We recognize the family’s struggle and we are here to help each other out in time of need and crisis,” Nava said.
Councilman Sam Couchman said that it was important to support the Garcia family, not only because they are part of the community, but also because they are always trying to help and to raise funds to help support local youths.
“The more support we show for our community, the stronger we grow,” Couchman said.
When Anthony was at the hospital, there was a pill he didn’t like. Every day he struggled to take it, but seeing how supportive the community was, he told his mom that he couldn’t let them down, Lupe Garcia said.
She said that she hopes Anthony is remembered as someone who always wanted to help.
“He was a strong person with a huge heart who cared a lot about people,” Lupe Garcia said.
Multimedia Producer Laura Gonzalez can be reached at 760-337-3440 or email@example.com
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