Royals honor Luis Garcia during annual Viva Los Reales celebration
After the Royals’ walk off win on Friday, the team was back at Kauffman Stadium the next afternoon for game two of the series and the annual Viva Los Reales celebration. And there in Buck O’Neil’s legacy seat was Luis Garcia, whom the team chose to honor for his volunteerism in Kansas City’s Hispanic community.
Aside from sitting in the primo location, marked by a red seat in a sea of Royals blue, he also starred in three video spotlights: twice for Crown Vision, the 84 feet by 104 feet scoreboard, and once for FOX Sports Kansas City.
“The cameraman came by and said ‘I’m going to give you a countdown and you start waving.’ In total, I did it three times. All I had to do was smile and wave,” said Garcia, a marketing manager for H&R Block. “After it was all said and done, I began to relax.”
Surrounded by his wife, mother-in-law, sister and brother-in-law and with his two-year-old daughter on their laps, Garcia watched the game while getting text messages from friends and family across the country who had seen him on television.
In the years to come, Garcia will have the video and pictures to share the experience with his youngest, a seven-month old son, who stayed home with his grandmother. The video will also come in handy for his daughter, who slept through the whole thing.
Volunteering from the Chamber to the basketball court
“[Giving back to Kansas City is] important to me because I received a lot of educational scholarships. When small business leaders are successful they promote nonprofits like providing scholarships for youth which breeds the next generation of leaders and the cycle can continue,” said Garcia, a Bloch School of Business graduate and lifelong Kansas City resident. “I made a conscious decision to help small businesses in Kansas City and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City was my way of being able to help further success in KC.”
In his fourth year of involvement at the Chamber, Garcia is also in his third year acting as treasurer. As a member of the executive committee and chairman of the finance committee, Garcia volunteers at fundraising events for the Chamber like their annual Gala.
He has also coached basketball for eight years at the junior varsity and varsity level at Midland Adventist Academy.
“Our church supports the school. Several churches get together and raise money to help run the school,” explained Garcia, who got involved through his church.
“It's not like I was particularly good at basketball but my heart was there so I focused more on the fundamentals and tried to teach the fundamental skills and strategy,” said Garcia.
He had a chance to learn basketball fundamentals as a student himself. A gymnast through his junior year, he dislocated his elbow. During recovery, his elbow was immobilized at the perfect angle to practice a fundamental basketball shot.
Looking ahead: a 50-year memorial for Primitivo Garcia
November will mark the 50-year anniversary of the night that Garcia’s great uncle, local hero Primitivo Garcia, sacrificed his life to save his pregnant teacher from a gang of muggers. Garcia is working on a celebration memorial with an elementary school named after his great uncle to coincide with the 50th year of his death.
By Annelise Wiens
As the newsroom editor, Annelise Wiens is interested in more than just tax and industry news, but the stories of H&R Block's 80,000 associates, their communities and H&R Block's world headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Wiens joined H&R Block in 2014 from a public relations agency, where she worked with clients in the financial services industry. Before that, she worked as a communicator for a senior member of the United States House of Representatives. She graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, CA with a bachelor's degree in history.