On Stands Now
February 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

northern new mexico news boy
Access Back Issues of
Print Editions Here

Share this article!

Post Date:

Written By:

Courtesy Photo Danny Garcia at the palace of Saddam Hussein during his 2004 deployment

Honorable Local: Danny Garcia

Danny Garcia is a modest family man, who has dedicated his life to serving his family, his community, and his country.

Raised in Questa by his parents, the late Conrad and Emilina (Chona) Garcia, he has four brothers and one sister. Attending Questa High School, he graduated in 1977. Upon graduation, he joined the army through the delayed-entry program. He attended basic training and advanced individual basic training in Ft. Bliss, Texas. Soon after completing his military training, he was deployed to Germany for two years. Upon returning to the states, he returned to Ft. Bliss for an additional year of service.

In 1981, Garcia decided to go inactive so he could return home to establish his family. He worked various jobs in the area such as construction, electronic work, mining, with the Village of Questa, and in the supply and services for the oil and gas industry. Garcia got married to his wife, Yolanda in 1982 and together they had two sons, Antonio (Tono) and John.

In 1986, Garcia decided to return to the military where he went active with the New Mexico National Guard. He was stationed in Rio Rancho where he worked as an Electronic Radar Technician. “It was hard sometimes to be away from my family but luckily, Rio Rancho isn’t too far so they would visit me during the weekends,” Garcia says of having to live separate from his family through this period.

Although Rio Rancho wasn’t too far from home, Garcia found a way to make it back to the Taos County area, where he served as a recruiter for the National Guard between 1990 and 1995. “I liked being close to home, but it was very hard because I liked working in a more technical field and recruiting was numbers-based, so I saw a position in Springer in the Supply and Services Field and I took it.”

Garcia worked as a Petroleum Supply Specialist in Springer for several years where he was promoted to an Operations Sergeant. Shortly after this promotion, he was activated to deploy to Iraq in 2003. His unit deployed in 2004 and because of his experience with petroleum supply, he was assigned as an Operations Specialist for his unit. He was in charge of the control maps, creating supply routes and oftentimes, he along with other soldiers in his operations section would make the journey on these dangerous routes to ensure the safe delivery of supplies. Garcia would also handle intel briefings while ensuring his unit was operationally sound.

“It was stressful,” Garcia recalls of his year being deployed overseas. “We were always worried about what could happen. Out of nowhere, they would throw mortars at our base, and we were a target because we were in charge of the equipment and supplies.”

Through his deployment, Garcia says, “our main mission was to supply the marines and other units with equipment and transportation and send convoys to provide them support. Insurgents were always trying to target our supply routes and supply units.”

“I was very happy to come home, it was a relief,” Garcia recalls of his return to New Mexico by the grace of God, after spending a year in Iraq. Upon returning, he was promoted to Sgt. Major of training for the state of New Mexico. Several years following, he was promoted to the Command Sgt. Major of the 515 Regional Training Institute, this was the highest enlisted rank in the military. In his new role, he utilized the experience he gained through his military career to oversee the training of soldiers and units across the country, sometimes sending them across the world to gain experience.

In June of 2008, Garcia’s life came to a screeching halt when his oldest son, Tono was injured in a motorcycle accident. Garcia was stationed in Santa Fe at the time, so he was able to be by his son’s side while he was being stabilized at St. Vincent’s Hospital. After this accident, the family went through months of transfers to various hospitals in Albuquerque and Denver to give Tono the best opportunity at surviving and recovering from his injuries.

Garcia decided to retire in 2009, a year after his son’s accident so he could take care of his son full-time with his wife, Yolanda. “I dedicated nearly 30 years to the military so I figure I can dedicate another 30 years or more to my son—when he says I love you dad, it’s worth it,” says Garcia of his decision.
In addition to taking care of his son full-time, Garcia stays busy as the Chairman for the Cabresto Irrigation Community Ditch Association, a role he’s held for nearly 10 years. This association is the oldest irrigation ditch in the area, with documentation showing it was established in 1815, nearly 100 years before New Mexico became a state.

Danny says he got involved in the acequias when his in-laws gave him water rights in 1982. He then went on to acquire more water rights with land purchased on upper N. Kiowa Rd. where he quickly learned about how the State Engineer can oftentimes have inconsistent information on-record where water rights are concerned. In his tenure, Garcia has worked diligently to make improvements to the association to improve morale, participation, and membership.

Garcia has been the Commander of the Questa VFW for the past six years. Due to the COVID pandemic, meetings have been put on-hold but he is working with members to get them going again.
In his free time, Garcia enjoys spending his time, spoiling his precious grandchildren Suki, Gabriela, and John Paul Jr. He also treasures the time he gets to spend with his family, most especially his in-laws Gustavo and Aurora Rael, who like his parents have helped grow his love and connection to his homeland in Questa.