We all knew his nickname; so it wasn’t surprising to see it in the headline of his obit.
I first met Pete “Big Dog” Garcia in 1989 when Chicanos Por La Causa hosted the National Congress for Community Economic Development [NCCED] annual conference in Phoenix. Little did I know at the time that it would become such a rich relationship.
My next encounter with Pete was as travel companions in 1991 on a NCCED tour of Scotland, Belfast, Dublin and Wales. Visiting community development initiatives in these countries furthered the bond of professional and personal connections.
Only a few years later, Pete and I would become fellow board directors for over two decades of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition [NCRC]. Too many meetings to count; many good meals to remember.
Pete and his wife Sarah always welcomed us as family members. Pete went out of his way when our son TJ was doing his college search tour with lunch at ASU’s golf course and tickets for the USA vs Mexico World Baseball Classic game. His love abounded.
I invited Pete to be a keynote speaker at the 15th anniversary conference of the Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations [CANDO] on March 8, 1994. His remarks then remain relevant today:
“Community development has to start at the community level. It doesn’t start at the mayor’s office or at the top of a bank building. It has to start in the community if it’s going to succeed. It has to have those partners with political and financial resources. Communities, at a certain point, have to develop themselves and the sophistication to be able to develop these partnerships with business and government in order to be successful.”
Pete’s been called home, after living true to his calling. Bless you Big Dog
We are called to act with justice,
We are called to love tenderly,
We are called to serve one another;
To walk humbly with God!