"A Message to Garcia" has come to mean many things to people across generations and across the world, and the phrase itself has become shorthand for doing what needs to be done for the good of all, regardless of the cost.
Holding his own copy of the essay in a photo on Instagram, Joe Cardona is finding a way to step up for those in need as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic head on. Cardona is teaming up with a local business, Ink'd in Mansfield, Mass., to bring relief to a cause close to his heart by selling t-shirts to benefit The Fisher House in Boston.
What started as a gift of appreciation from Cardona and a handful of teammates for the Patriots training staff became something bigger. Through its "Communa-tee" initiative, Ink'd is making custom t-shirts, and all the proceeds benefit local organizations. The shirt, which reads "Essential together" on the front and "Thank you for doing your job when we need it most" on the back, is available to purchase, all while helping a good cause.
Cardona said creating this shirt is a way to support a non-profit, while also supporting a local business.
"All around, it's supporting a local business and then the real proceeds of it are going to Fisher House. Right now they've had to allocate resources just like everybody else because of the virus," Cardona said.
The Fisher House is an organization that provides a home away from home for veterans and the family of veterans who come to Boston for medical treatment or surgeries, and now, in light of the global pandemic, The Fisher House is maintaining those services, as well as assisting the Veteran's Affairs healthcare system by providing bed space.
Cardona has been a supporter of The Fisher House since joining the Patriots, and as a Naval lieutenant himself, it is a cause close to his heart. He wanted do his part to help during these unprecedented times.
"I didn't even tell them I was including them. It was surprise to them. They were just very grateful ... They're supporting their normal functions, but then they're also supporting this greater effort of the virus so in all actuality, they're in need of probably more funding than they usually get," Cardona said. "I'm just happy to help and happy to be a part of something that's meaningful in this time. When tragedies strike and times get tough, communities come together and I think that's something that is really a beautiful thing. Hopefully we can continue to come together and really unite in a fight against this virus and do the right thing for each other."
In the vein of "A Message to Garcia," Cardona is using this moment to encourage others to follow suit if they are able. No matter how big or how small, if you are in a position to help even one person, your community will be better off because of it.
"Really in this time, we can take a step back, and those of us that can do something for another person and help them whether it's a small thing or a big thing, it's time to do that. I think when times are easy and things are going well, it's easy to look at things from your own personal best interest," Cardona said. "In these times, that's not what we need. We need people to band together and do what's right for the greater whole, the collective whole of United States, the collective whole of the world. We need to band together and that could be something as easy as just helping another person out along the way, even if you impact one person that makes a difference. I would just urge people to do whatever they can to support members of their community, in small ways or big ways. It doesn't really matter. Just do something good for another person."
If you are interested in purchasing an "Essential Together" t-shirt to benefit The Fisher House of Boston, you can do so here.