When it comes to a notable Questa local, Viola Garcia is high on the list. Viola, who goes by Vi, was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Vi married Lino Garcia of Questa in 1956 and they went on to live in Santa Fe until 1995, when they returned to Questa to settle down. Vi notes her love of fishing and the outdoors were big reasons she was excited to move north and establish a life in her husband’s hometown. Lino passed away in February of 2021 and Viola continues to live in the home they built near Lagunita with one of her daughters.
One of Vi’s most notable qualities is her deep-seated passion for giving. When she settled in Questa, Vi was involved in coordinating the local supplemental food program for residents in and around the Questa area. In her giving nature, when people were unable to pick up their food, she would go out of her way to make local deliveries to people’s homes.
Vi is a devout Catholic and a member of St. Anthony’s Parish in Questa. She served as a Eucharistic minister, where she would visit up to seven homes of people who were home-bound on any given Sunday to serve as a minister.
When the current priest was assigned to the parish, Viola got involved in coordinating trips to homes for the priest in and around the Questa area. “When you have a close relationship with God, it just helps you have a good relationship with your family, friends and even people you don’t know because you have peace in your heart,” she says as she sighs with contentment in her voice.
It’s no surprise that Vi had a big role in rebuilding the church after it collapsed in 2008. She worked with Deacon Marcos for five years on staining the glass for the windows of the newly rebuilt church. This project was a passionate one for Vi and she is so honored to be surrounded by the windows every Sunday when she attends the early mass.
In addition to her service with the church, Vi has been a faithful member of the Friendship Circle where she served for over 10 years cooking, cleaning, setting up receptions, doing dishes, you name it. She says she was always ready to serve when called and was ready to take on any task, big or small with a joyful heart. With time, Vi has slowed down some and things that used to be easy are not so any more. She is not able to serve for receptions anymore, but that doesn’t stop her from supporting the Friendship Circle. “I’ll cook a turkey or bake some sweets, just anything they need and any way I can help them is what I do now,” she says.
Although Vi has slowed down and isn’t able to do all the things she once did, she still gives. “I have a list of about 10 or 12 people in Questa, older people or people that are my friends who are now homebound. I go down the list regularly and I make tortillas, cookies, pies, whatever I am able to take to their homes to show them they’re loved,” Viola says. She credits her family and her upbringing for teaching her the meaning of giving with a gracious heart.
When asked what advice she would give to younger people, Vi says, “it worries me that a lot of our young people don’t give. I think in today’s society, it is easy to get caught in your own world and forget that you can make a big difference by making a simple offer to help someone pick up their prescriptions or get them something at the store. Things like that go a long way and it’s just important to help others, because the need is so great,” she says.