View Full Version : Music to soothe the wounded souls

01-26-08, 07:33 AM
Music to soothe the wounded souls

By Jessica Gaspar, staff writer
Messenger Post
Sat Jan 26, 2008, 06:00 AM EST

Rochester, N.Y. -

It didn’t take long for Eddie Garcia’s life to change. Actually, it took a couple of seconds.
In November 2004, on his second deployment to Iraq, Garcia watched a rocket explode —near a Humvee carrying some buddies. He ran toward the vehicle to make sure they were OK, but then a second rocket landed next to him.

“I caught the blast from underneath,” he said. “It hit both my legs.”

Garcia was a U.S. Marine at the time and required three surgeries after that blast, including a skin graft. Luckily, he didn’t need amputation, but he was unable to walk for two months. He also needed about six months of rehabilitation.

Through it all, Garcia felt a mix of emotions.

“I felt like the luckiest guy on the planet,” he said, adding, “I had buddies who didn’t make it. There were times where I felt a little guilty.”

Garcia, who now lives in Rush with his wife, Raquel, has fully recovered from his injuries. He is able to walk normally, but has some scarring on the backs of his legs. He takes medication for nerve pain. He now works as a federal agent for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Garcia was excited to learn the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will record a CD, “Honor: An American Salute.” It will be comprised of military-related songs, including the” Star-Spangled Banner” as well as some songs produced by the RPO.

“It’ll be great,” Garcia said. “I’m sure it’ll be good for different patriotic occasions.”

The release date is scheduled for Armed Forces Day — May 17, with a free sneak preview at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Pittsford-Sutherland High School, 55 Sutherland St.

Once the CD is complete, sale proceeds will be donated to the Veterans’ Outreach Center in Rochester. The RPO and its Principal Pops Conductor, Jeff Tyzik, donated about $75,000 to the center in the 1980s and 1990s.

This new announcement couldn’t come at a better time for the outreach center, according to spokeswoman Ellen Warren.

“There’s going to be about 1,200 folks coming back to this community,” she said. “That’s Army reserve, not even the active duty.”

And for Tyzik, the money couldn’t be put toward a more valuable resource.

“I’m personally always honored by those who put their lives on the line for our country and for those who have served our country,” he said.

The VOC receives donations on a daily basis, Warren said. She did not have exact figures on hand, but said the money is used for a variety of resources, including emergency housing and mental-health services for all veterans.

And despite the struggles Garcia has gone through, he does not regret his time in the Marines.

“It was the best decision I ever made,” he said. “In retrospect, I don’t remember any of the bad times. It was good friends, good times. It makes for some good stories.”

Jessica Gaspar can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 323, or at jgaspar@mpnewspapers.com.