I just looked at my email, chat and phone. I normally would have had at least four email exchanges, a few chat sessions, and two or three phone calls this morning with Manny. Never again. I have sad news that Manny Garcia, our DIY Guy and Show Producer, died after sustaining injuries in a car accident. He was 26.
Everyone on our team loved Manny and I mean every single person. Our callers and listeners certainly loved him too. I was mentoring Manny to play a role in our shows, including having his own show someday.
I was teaching Manny about radio, television, and business and in the midst of that, we talked a lot about life, family, and the world. He was wise beyond his years. Manny was doing an incredible job for all of us, especially being a bright, happy, and upbeat shining star during this pandemic.
In typical Manny fashion, he made a video about security that I showed during my NASA keynote speech to all 60,000 NASA employees. Manny really liked doing videos like this one about 7 must-try iPhone tricks.
In March when we had to pivot our business because of the pandemic, Manny stepped up and started creating videos to help people deal with it, including how to make your own mask.
Frankie and Manny were a great professional and funny team. This video about essential laptop maintenance steps shows how they interacted in the studios.
The last video Manny made is about 5 tech tricks. He once said that he enjoyed doing these videos because if he learned something, then someone else would too.
Our IT team told me that when Manny left the studios last Friday after our show, he waved at them, smiled and said, “I love you guys.” We love you too, Manny. Prayers are with you and your family.
Here’s what our team, the people who worked with Manny day in and day out, had to say about him.
“When I think of Manny, I think of a certain kind of energy — an infectious kind that can light up an entire room. That was the kind of presence Manny brought to WestStar, and it’s one of the many, many reasons we all loved him so much. Manny was a force of encouragement and optimism, and an absolute joy to come to work with. I’ll never forget how he was always the first one to say hello when somebody walked into the room and the first to wish you well on your way out. I’ll never forget his passion and dedication to making the show’s production run smoothly and look beautiful. But above all, I really think Manny exemplified the power of positivity in a world that can seem so frightening and uncertain.” – James
“I remember a young man who brought positivity and good humor to every interaction. He will be missed.” – Charles
“Manny was always cheerful. Always. He always greeted everybody individually, and he genuinely wanted to know how you were doing. He was never too busy to be polite. He could get anyone to feel comfortable in front of the camera, whether for a segment or for just a few seconds. He had such a relaxed, fun, positive energy that would lighten the mood in any room. You knew he’d always have a smile on his face — he never seemed to let life’s seriousness faze him, and it was so, so refreshing. I first saw him when I was interviewing, and he passed through the lobby and greeted Amber L. and then me — me, a stranger — and it left such a good impression on me about WestStar, like, “Wow, people here are friendly.” His reliably sweet, upbeat, bright personality will be so missed, and … it just doesn’t make sense that he’s gone.” – Amber R.
“At an out of the office event, I had a meaningful conversation with Manny about what he wanted for his future and how I might help him achieve that goal. Manny was excited about his current role at Kim Komando Multimedia in the production side of the company, but also looked forward to eventually learning about the business side of media. We spoke about both sides of the business, and I will never forget how impressed I was with Manny’s professionalism, politeness, sincerity, and motivation. At the office, Manny always had a smile on his face and made other staffers happy to work with him. Such a tragic loss indeed, as Manny was top-shelf.” – Kip
“Manny was so upbeat and always had a smile and a positive attitude. He is going to be missed beyond measure. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” – Mike
“Manny was, in a word, bright. He had this way of making people feel special that was never forced. He cared about you, and you felt it. It’s a special thing, to make people feel seen. Most of us struggle to do that even with those we’re closest to, but Manny did that for everyone he came in contact with. His energy was special, and the world really is dimmer without that light.” – Allie
“I will never forget how lucky I was to be able to know Manny and spend time with him. Manny was the human equivalent of the “Care Bear Stare.” Manny had this sense of excitement, happiness and humor that really brightened anyone he was around. No matter what was going on, his presence felt like a healing ray of light. It was truly a blessing to have him as a brother in my work family.” – Jeremy
“I looked forward to seeing Manuel every Friday in the studio. We would discuss movies we had watched the week prior. Manuel lit up every room he entered with his great personality and smile.” – John
“Manny was one of the brightest souls I have ever met. His upbeat personality and wit made me smile every time I interacted with him. The world is darker without him in it.” – Matt
“Over the past 20 years, I’ve known co-workers who are kind, cheerful, motivated, positive, funny, outgoing, focused, hardworking, larger than life and some who are just a pleasure to be around. But rarely have I come across one person who embodies all of those traits. Manny did. And although I only worked with him for a year and a half, it didn’t take long to learn what kind of person he was. Above all else, Manny was genuine. He had a kind heart and an indescribable positivity that could brighten someone’s day, no matter the situation. More than just a colleague, Manny was my friend and he will be missed.” – Ben