Maricela Garcia’s passion is to contribute to her community by volunteering. For nearly 50 years, the city of Flint, Michigan, has benefitted from her time utilizing her skills and leadership for the betterment of her people. “Marcy” as she is affectionately known, is the 2016 Spirit of Frida Corporate Advocate/Volunteer Award recipient.
Garcia was born in Weslaco, Texas, one of 12 children. She migrated to Michigan with her family early, working the agricultural fields before her father found employment with General Motors in 1954. Her humble beginnings gave her an understanding of migrant life, yet motivated her to improve her life through education.
She found her first employment, after graduation from Grand Blanc High School in 1969, at the same GM factory that her father worked—the V-8 Engine Plant, where she worked production.
By 1977, Garcia was the first female electrician in her plant, paving the way for other females in a male dominated skilled trade, with the help of the union environment.
Garcia attended Baker College in the early 90s while working her full-time GM job, and obtained a bachelor’s degree graduating with honors with a 3.7 GPA.
She believed in her union and volunteered in community service with numerous organizations: the United Way, March of Dimes, Easter Seals, and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to name a few. As the Local 659 Flint Engine community service rep, Garcia organized fundraisers and ran campaigns.
She eventually got involved with women’s organizations such as the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Region 1-C Women’s Council, and Local 659 Women’s Committee.
All the while, Garcia has volunteered on Hispanic-based organizations dear to her heart such as The American G.I. Forum, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the César E. Chávez March Committee, Hispanic Technology and Community Center of Greater Flint, and is a longtime member of the Genesee County Hispanic Collaborative (GCHLC). She was recently involved with fund-raising and planning for the Fiesta Mexicana at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic church.
After 43 years of service, Garcia retired from GM’s Flint Engine Operations, where she worked on a skilled trades special assignment as a capacity assurance coordinator.
“Recognizing the leadership, creativity, energy and dedication of Ms. Garcia is not only well deserved, but an honor that could not be bestowed on a more humble, kind, and thoughtful woman,” said Emily Feuerherm, board secretary of the GCHLC on behalf of the organization. “Marcy is a woman who has put so many others’ needs before her own.”
Currently Garcia is the board chair of the GCHLC, and is the secretary of the executive board of the United Way—still giving back to the community through a myriad of leadership roles she has shouldered in non-profit organizations around Flint.