Friday, March 25, 2011

Ketchum character Garcia needs aid

Longtime resident, political candidate faces medical, housing bills


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Mickey Garcia

Mickey Garcia, Ketchum resident and longtime political aspirant, is in need of a few good friends to help with unanticipated medical expenses.

Garcia was admitted to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center with congestive heart failure on Monday evening following a lingering illness. As a result, he is now facing mounting medical bills that he has no way of paying.

The political gadfly has been a regular sight around Ketchum and at both city and county meetings for nearly two decades. Former Blaine County Commissioner Len Harlig said he developed a respect for Garcia over the years.

"He was very often a voice of reason," he said. "The man has a lot of good insight, and a lot of good foresight."

Harlig said Garcia was an advocate of improving state Highway 75, a supporter of St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center and one of the first to advocate a need for relocating Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey to a safer, more accessible location.

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"He would stand up [in county meetings] with hats that made you think of Alice in Wonderland," Harlig said. "[But] he would very often cut to the chase and get to the point faster than many other audience members."

Garcia was scheduled to be released from St. Luke's on Thursday, but has neither a permanent place to stay nor a way to fund the expenses he's accrued.

Garcia is 68 and is a veteran of the Air Force, and therefore may be eligible for Medicare, Social Security and benefits associated with his military service. But according to the Veterans Affairs Office in Boise, it could take Garcia up to six weeks to collect any aid, even if he files immediately.

As a result, Garcia's friends have set up the "Friends of Mickey Fund" to assist with his expenses.

Interested donors can contact D. L. Evans Bank in Ketchum at 622-0415 to contribute. Checks should be made out to Ben Varner, FBO Mickey Garcia. For more information on ways to help, please e-mail friendsofmickeyg@gmail.com.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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