A 19-year-old who miraculously survived a fire that left 80 percent of his body burned has been named an honorary police officer in Texas.
Zaid Garcia, of Galveston, Texas, lost both hands, eyes and right arm at the age of two after a candle fell on his blankets while he was sleeping.
Doctors said he would never survive the fourth-degree burns, but after countless surgeries and skin grafts, the boy beats the odds.
And now Texas officers have made a dream he’s had since he was 10 come true by making him a member of their squad.
Zaid García, from Galveston, Texas, has been named an honorary member of the area’s police force. He said that he had dreamed of this moment since he was ten years old.
Zaid Garcia, of Galveston, Texas, lost both hands, eyes and right arm at the age of two after a candle fell on his blankets while he was sleeping. When he visited the police department, pictured, doctors presented him with an honorary police uniform.
He was excited to have achieved a dream he had had for ten years and said the day was one of the best of his life.
Garcia said: “I’m so excited, I really have no words.”
“This is one of the best days of my life.”
“I said, Mom, I think I can do it, you know, and to be honest, I didn’t even believe it myself.”
And he added: ‘Since my accident happened, I like to protect people. So my dream was to be a police officer.’
On a visit to the Houston Police Department Academy in north Houston, officers presented him with a youth uniform, making him jump with excitement.
His boss, Troy Finner, also presented him with a certificate to officially make him an honorary member.
And the force took him to their test track to learn how to stop traffic, take down a suspect and stop a car.
‘Stop, I’m Officer García!’, he can be heard shouting while smiling during his test drive in pursuit of another car.
He was also asked to speak to the young cadets about his experience.
He said, reports Click2Houston: ‘I ended up proving the doctors wrong too, you know?
“They thought I couldn’t make it, but here I am.”
Sergeant Jeremy Lahar said: “They really make you step back and appreciate everything you might take for granted on a daily basis.”
“Everyone who came into contact and had the pleasure of meeting him today has left better than before meeting him.”
‘Officer Garcia’ visited the Academy in December of last year for the presentation, but clips have recently resurfaced on social media.
Earlier this month, Officer Garcia also posted a video of himself trying on his police uniform once again.
The day was made possible by social media personality Isaías Garza of Los Angeles, who organized the day after learning of Mr. García’s story.
Garcia suffered his injuries a decade and a half ago, when he was two years old, when a candle set his blankets on fire while he was sleeping in his bed.
After the accident, Garcia was flown from his home in Mexico to San Antonio, Texas, to receive treatment for his fourth-degree burns, including countless surgeries, amputations and skin grafts, which ultimately saved his life.
The two-year-old lost both hands and five toes and his eyes were burned so badly that doctors covered them with skin to help them heal. He hopes to regain his sight and have the skin removed from his eyes and his eyelids reconstructed.
When Mr. García was released from the hospital, his family settled in Texas, where he currently attends a school for the blind.
In 2019, he made headlines for raising money to help with surgeries and possibly restore his sight.
A GoFundMe page created by the nonprofit Special Books for Special Kids set a goal of $60,000, but supporters rallied around it and donations quickly skyrocketed to more than $365,000.
A spokeswoman for the website said the donations were used to cover his ongoing medical expenses.
She said: “Fundraising was started for Zaid’s ‘functional surgeries’ and then for possible reconstructive procedures.”
“All funds raised went directly to Zaid’s mother for Zaid’s ongoing medical expenses.”
The day was made possible by social media personality Isaías Garza of Los Angeles, who organized it after hearing Mr. García’s story.
Mr. Garcia is pictured above after receiving a certificate making him an honorary member of the Houston police force.
He is shown above with force chief Troy Finner, posing for a photograph.
The teenager lost both hands and five toes, and his eyes were burned so badly that surgeons covered them with skin to help them heal.
He has been blind since he was two years old after a candle set his blankets on fire while he slept.
Most people do not survive third-degree burns, which destroy two of the three layers of skin, affecting more than 50 percent of their body, and babies rarely survive burns that destroy more than 15 percent. cent of your skin.
The chances of survival are even lower in the case of fourth-degree burns like Mr. García’s, which affect bones, muscles and tissues.
Doctors say that in cases where people survive, the burns are so severe that affected limbs must be amputated and multiple operations must be performed. Even then, people still have severe scarring and long-term effects.
At the time of the fundraiser, Mr. Garcia said, “I’m sharing my story to inspire people and show them that miracles do exist.”
‘When I was two and a half years old my mother took me to bed and (…) a candle fell and caught fire.
“I was super hurt. I’ve had surgery so many times I can’t even remember it. I will probably have more skin grafts (in the future).
‘They amputated both my hands and also removed my fingers. I have legs and feet.’
He added: ‘The doctors closed my eyes under the skin. I don’t know why they didn’t take them out, probably because they thought I would see in the future.
‘So my next hope is to regain my vision. I’ve been blind since the accident. If I had this surgery, it would be the first time I would see the world properly (since before the fire).’
Speaking about his childhood, Mr Garcia said: “To be honest, it was difficult growing up. People are afraid of me because of my looks and when I was young I tried to commit suicide.
‘My mom told me that wasn’t the right thing to do. I found it difficult to fit in at school and make friends. I work hard to improve every day. I just want to be accepted.
‘When people meet my parents, my mom prepares them. She explains, “Hey, I have a disabled son.”
‘She prepares them. Of course, they are surprised, but (soon) they only care about my personality.
‘(When people meet me now), I hope they think I’m interesting, that I’m easy to talk to. I like to go out with friends and give them time to talk to me if they need something.
‘I like to sing and sometimes I write songs or poems. I love art and playing with pencils. I have other interests and I hope people see that when they meet me.’
Mr. García has overcome many obstacles throughout his life, but he remains hopeful for the future and now has his sights set on being a translator and motivational speaker.