Eduardo Garcia Speaks at SHS

Maya Bharara

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A number of SHS students attended an assembly featuring Eduardo Garcia, a chef, hiker, and survivor of an electrical shock that left him with a bionic hand. During the February 9 assembly, Garcia described numerous important events in his life, such as his time as a chef on yachts, his accident, and his rode to recovery. In particular, he emphasized how all of his experiences have taught him life lessons, including the importance of personal connections with others, being there for your friends, and persevering.

Garcia went to culinary school and after college spent ten years as a chef on private yachts, enabling him to exercise his cooking skills while simultaneously traversing the world. “Learning about his profession before the accident was probably the most interesting part of the assembly, because being a chef on a yacht is such an unusual job,” said Sean Michael ’19. Garcia discussed the time he found one of his friends on the crew crying because a family member had died. As he comforted her, he had realized just how important emotional connections are—we need each other, he said, gesturing emphatically at the audience.

Garcia’s life was forever changed, however, when he was electrocuted. He was hiking alone in the woods one day when he received a 2400-volt electrical shock from a hidden power line. Though he cannot remember exactly how he managed to get out of the woods and find help, he recalls thinking only that he had to get up and that above all else, he wanted to survive. Garcia ended up spending nearly fifty days in the hospital and lost his left hand, wrist, several ribs, and some muscle—and yet he did not give up on his passion for cooking. When he was released from the hospital, Garcia slowly taught himself to cook again with his new restraints. “I appreciate the fact that despite his physical limitations, he pushed himself and persevered,” said Lauren Cho ’19.

Nowadays, Garcia still cooks, but he also spends time telling his story and the lessons it taught him. Charged, a documentary based on his experience, was released in 2017, and Garcia hopes that it will allow a wider audience to hear his story and appreciate the value of friendship, perseverance, and following one’s dreams.