Local News

Aug 13, 2014 2:55 PM by Sara Donchey

Vacant Hector P. Garcia Clinic to Become New Veterans' Center

CORPUS CHRISTI - The dilapidated building on the corner of Bright and Morgan Streets once housed a civil rights icon; it was a clinic belonging to the late Hector P. Garcia.

But the building has sat empty for almost 20 years.

"I came by yesterday and started crying," said Wanda Garcia, Dr. Garcia's daughter. "This office meant so much to my father, and to see it like this is terrible."

But Garcia's family is working with several organizations to change that, including the National Education, Advocacy and Training organization, The American GI Forum and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Team.

The plan is to renovate the building to become the new Veterans' and Family Outreach Center.

Volunteers say the roof and electrical systems need extensive work, but that the foundation appears to be in salvageable condition.

Dr. Garcia's family says the new plan for the building is what he would've wanted--a place to help vets looking for employment, housing and support.

It's that support that Vietnam War veteran Larry Spaller doesn't always get from Veteran's Affairs.

"I took an X-ray and I need a copy of it for my back doctor," Spaller explained. "Well it's been three weeks now. I had to cancel an appointment Saturday because I don't have a copy of that X-ray, and my doctor won't see me 'til I get a copy of it. Some place like this could help with that."

For the families of our nation's heroes, like Debbie Zuniga, the new center will also be a place to go for emotional support.

"Knowing another military family is need of that kind of support, that's what we do," said Zuniga, whose two sons actively serve in the military. "We're there to lend a hug, a care package...you name it. Whatever it means."

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