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Greenway linebacker fulfills urge to serve, help off the field

(Gabe Garcia)

PHOENIX — Greenway High School linebacker Gabe Garcia has a lot going for him already athletically and academically. Garcia is a starter for the Demons, and on top of that, has a 3.93 GPA.

Not bad, right?

Garcia, though, goes above and beyond that, fulfilling what he calls an urge to serve and help people.

“If there’s time for you to give, just give it,” Garcia said.

Garcia goes on annual mission trips to Mexico where they volunteer at an orphanage.

“Their life isn’t that great. It’s rough, but they enjoy it there,” he said. “They love seeing us come down so it’s a mutual thing. They love seeing us, we love seeing them.”

That was a trip Garcia’s parents had been paying for in the past, but Garcia went out of his own way to pay for it himself this year.

Garcia also takes on a mentor role within his team and at the school as well, where he is part of a link crew that welcomes incoming freshmen to high school.

He’s also taken to his dad, Jesse, who coaches football. Gabe coaches with his dad, and Jesse sees how well Gabe can connect with the kids.

“I like seeing the kids respond to him,” Garcia said of his son. “I’m an older guy, they might listen to me, but he’s a high school football player.

“It’s cool watching him take that initiative and do it and go.”

Gabe Garcia described his switch from wide receiver to linebacker as a youth football player because he likes to hit people, but Garcia has other outlets.

He’s an artist, and while he says he’s nothing special, it’s a different way for him to express himself beyond the physicality of football or the giving nature of his time volunteering.

“I feel like when you’re drawing and when you see it come to life — it’s cool,” he said.

What it ultimately comes down to for Garcia is being in a position where he can better others.

“I like helping people,” he said. “If there’s opportunity, I don’t mind giving up a weekend or a week or money or whatever — I like reaching out to people. So whatever outlet it [is], I’ll go and do it.”