Marine, Public Servant, Kansan, written by Dennis Garcia, tells the story of Dennis’s cousin, Ernie Garcia. The child of immigrants, Ernie was born in the barrio in Garden City in the mid-20th century. He had a career in the military, worked for Senator Bob Dole—who wrote the foreword to this book—and held the esteemed position of sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. Senate, rising through the ranks of government to travel worldwide as a congressional delegate.
Ernie struggled to get into KU, his time there was abruptly halted by the Vietnam draft, and it took him 10 years to get his Bachelor of Arts in sociology. He awakened to the civil rights movement and earned a master’s degree in social work while working government jobs in Topeka.
When drafted, Garcia chose to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, where he was mentally transformed during the rigorous training, and found the challenges of military life suited him. During his later service, he was deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, and was in active duty as late as 2004.
With a Master of Arts in hand, Ernie began to apply for more challenging jobs. In one instance, he applied to be an aide in Dan Glickman’s office, and was rejected in a form letter. In a twist of fate, he was recruited by Senator Dole’s office, accepted the job, and began his illustrious career.
Marine, Public Servant, Kansan is neither a tell-all nor a political memoir. Rather, it is an inspiring story of the life of a Kansan we can all be proud of.