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Valley family hopes to honor World War II veteran's final wish

Posted at 11:01 PM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-02 07:21:02-04

PHOENIX — A Valley World War II veteran is fighting to survive after a massive heart attack.

Guadalupe "Lupe" Garcia's family says their grandfather's heart and kidneys are failing. Doctors told them to prepare to say goodbye.

As they worry about his health, they are worried about how they are going to pay to bury him next to his wife.

Garcia was born and raised in Phoenix, and in 1946 joined the Army at 18 years old.

"He told me a story one time where he was taking guard, and he almost got shot by a Korean soldier," said Israel Garcia, Garcia's grandson.

Garcia was honorably discharged in 1947, with both an Army of Occupation and World War II Victory medal.

"After he came home, he supported his family, grandkid, [and] he worked two jobs," said Cynthia Rodriguez, his granddaughter.

He always spoiled his grandchildren.

"He always went to McDonald's, anytime we asked," said Israel.

Now they are trying to do what he asked.

"He was doing really well a week ago, and out of nowhere he was short of breath and had a heart attack," said Rodriguez.

Since then, things have gotten worse.

"So he doesn't have his kidneys anymore," said Rodriguez. "They told us at his age, 91, that he is not going to recover from it."

So relatives started planning.

"The proper burial would be around $10,000. It's $9,000 for the mortuary," said Rodriguez.

The family says it would cost another $1,500 to dig up the St. Francis cemetery plot next to his beloved wife, Isabel. His headstone is already engraved.

"I'm just scared because the doctor said he's not going to get any better, and it could happen any day," said Rodriguez.

The family has started a GoFundMe, and reached out to politicians and the Veterans' Affairs.

"He doesn't qualify for a lot of things," said Rodriguez.

Israel and Cynthia's grandfather, from the greatest generation, did not ask for much. He served quietly, and now his grandkids want to make sure his final wishes are fulfilled.