Vida Cortes and Theresa Yang from the Saint Victor Development Office sat down with Chief Eddie Garcia on a busy September morning to talk about how his years at Saint Victor impacted his life.
He was delighted to walk down memory lane. Chief Eddie Garcia grew up in the Berryessa neighborhood that surrounds Saint Victor School and church. The community of children and parents was tight knit. Chief Garcia remembers his childhood as “innocent times when everything was a big deal.” Garcia recalled and then asked with a smile, “Do they still do Field Day?” He was reassured that Field Day is an annual springtime tradition. He recalls winning the Altar Server of the Year Award, playing at recess and lunch, and eating special hot lunches. He remembers when the original church burned down in 1980 and the congregation met for Mass in the Hall until it was rebuilt. This was when it struck him that a church was more than just a building – it was the people that made the church.
Chief Garcia still keeps in regular touch with the members of the Class of 1985. This past summer they met in downtown Campbell to reminisce and recall their adventures as adolescents. While Chief Garcia has moved out of the Berryessa area, he still remains committed to Catholic education. His oldest son graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory High School and his other son is currently a student there. His youngest child, a daughter, is a current student at Saint Frances Cabrini. Chief Garcia also remains committed to Saint Victor Parish. At the time of the interview, Chief Garcia was looking forward to possibly serving as a volunteer officer at Saint Victor’s annual Parish Festival.
Laughing and sharing memories with the Chief was delightful. Chief Garcia learned about some of the recent changes and improvements that have taken place–two years ago Saint Victor opened a Preschool, the junior high has 1:1 Chromebooks for assignments, and that the school is aiming to build an outdoor classroom at the garden.
The Chief reflected on how his education at Saint Victor impacted his life choices. “My education at Saint Victor instilled in me a strong work ethic. The teachers were great and provided structure. The teachers infused everything with spirituality.” Chief Garcia credits Saint Victor and his family for his moral foundation. “We were taught to ask what is the right thing to do?” As a police chief for a large city like San Jose he says that this moral compass forces him to think about policies and see if they are in line with human values. He feels it is important for people to live a life of compassion especially for the disadvantaged. “We should all be people for others.”