Give this guy a hand, or better yet, an arm

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Bobby Garcia stood out the first time he walked into our sanctuary. He entered with a very sweet looking, white-haired little lady who turned out to be his aunt. And he only had one arm. His left arm was amputated just below his elbow.

His smile was infectious, and you couldn’t miss his friendliness.

Last August, he moved to Fayetteville to live with his aunt. One Sunday, they went to church. The first church they pulled into had only one car sitting there and the church was locked. Their next stop was McDonough Road Baptist and they’ve been with us ever since.

I had the privilege of helping Bobby receive Jesus as his Savior, and then baptizing him and his aunt at age 77, proving it’s never too late to obey Jesus.

Bobby, a native of Dade City, Florida, worked in carpentry for years. He was the maintenance director at an RV park repairing, building, doing electrical and whatever needed done, and interacting with travelers and snowbirds. He loved helping people.

“My friends and family classify me as very outgoing, fun-loving, dependable – anytime friends and family needed any help, they could depend on me. I was always there.”

One day last summer, July 12, started just like any other day.

“You wouldn’t expect to get up and get in your car thinking, ‘Hey, I’m going to lose a limb today.’ One day you have both arms and then …”

Driving home, Bobby got caught in a heavy, Florida downpour. His windshield wipers couldn’t clear the deluge and he couldn’t see.

“It’s hard to pull over because you can’t see what’s in front of you.”

He hit a vehicle. The other person wasn’t injured, but Bobby broke his arm in three places, suffered three broken ribs and fractured his L5 vertebrae. He vaguely remembers getting to the hospital but stayed for a week. The first month home was tough to get around as his body healed.

He decided a change of scenery would be beneficial and was still recovering when he moved to Georgia. His arm was still in a cast when he realized something wasn’t right because his cast became “squishy.”

Bobby’s orthopedic doctor discovered an infection was attacking his flesh and muscles. The doctor said they could save the arm, but it would be useless. The muscles controlling the fingers were too badly deteriorated.

“I was shocked,” Bobby shared. “A lot of things went through my head, like how am I going to work? The only thing I know to do requires two hands. Then I realized a lot of people have gone through this and they’ve adjusted.”

Bobby made a dramatic determination. “I can choose to sit on my rear and do nothing or get off my rear and live my life.”

He’s just thankful to have his life, but he’s still adjusting to new challenges.

Like how to dress with one arm, and how to cut a piece of fruit that’s round and keeps sliding off the table. He learned to tie his shoes with one hand from a YouTube video.

“If I can’t do something, I google it and keep trying.”

Now he’s pursuing a Hero Arm, the lowest cost open grip bionic hand available on the market, according to Sarah Lockey, Customer Service Manager of Open Bionics in Denver, Colorado.

The cost? $20,000 covers the prosthetic design and installation, the twelve months of Hero Care follow-up, and his expenses of getting to and from Denver for appointments.

What a difference a Hero Arm would make!

“I apply for jobs and they tell me ‘you’re qualified but you need two arms.’ If I get this arm, I can get out and go to work and provide for myself. Maybe I can even wear a wedding ring one day, right?”

Open Bionics pointed Bobby toward grants that might help with costs. He recently learned The Open Bionics Foundation will give $6,543 towards his arm if he can raise the rest in three months.

So he set up a “Go Fund Me” account giving people the opportunity to help with his crowdfunding. If you’re interested, please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-fund-bobbys-hero-arm?qid=98ecfaa084dc50583b357005a2c571f0.

What has Bobby learned through this experience?

“To respect life. You have to keep moving forward no matter what life brings. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but with God all things are possible.”

[David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Join them this Sunday for worship at 10 a.m. and Bible study at 11:10 a.m. Visit www.mcdonoughroad.org for more information and online viewing options. Visit www.davidchancey.com to see more of Chancey’s writings.]