SAN ANTONIO – The husband of one of the teachers killed in the Uvalde school shooting who suddenly died two days later is being called a donor hero.
Joe Garcia and his wife, Irma, were laid to rest together on Wednesday. Garcia died of a broken heart over her tragic death, family members said.
Garcia’s family honored his decision to help patients in need.
He was a registered organ donor and he had his corneas recovered to help two people who needed a cornea transplant.
“Two individuals will be able to see again, will be able to go back to their families, live that full life, and a part of Joe will live on through them,” said Simera Nichols of the San Antonio Eye Bank.
The first patient received the transplant on Tuesday and the other received it on Thursday.
Dr. Kenneth Maverick, the surgeon who conducted the second surgery, said the outpatient procedure is very successful.
“We basically transplant someone who’s passed on their cornea to somebody who needs a new cornea because their cornea is not clear,” Maverick said. “It usually takes about 30 or 40 minutes.”
There are an estimated 12 million people suffering from corneal blindness around the world and Maverick hopes Joe Garcia’s story is one that will inspire others to donate.
“This is just a ray of light in a very dark time, but the human spirit lives on and the ultimate sacrifice is organ donation.”