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Sonoran hero Jesus Garcia honored 115 years after sacrificing self to save town

The monument for Jesus Garcia in Nacozari
Gobierno de Sonora
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handout | agency
The monument for Jesus Garcia in Nacozari

State and local officials paid homage this week to a Sonoran hero who, more than a century ago, sacrificed himself to save a mining town.

Twenty-five-year-old train engineer Jesus Garcia made a decision115 years ago this week that saved many lives, ended his own and sealed his place in Sonoran lore.

When the dynamite-laden train he was conducting caught fire, he — with the help of a young stokernamed Jose Romero — set themselves to getting it as far from the northern mining town of Nacozari de Garcia as possible. At Garcia’s order, Romero leapt from the train to safety before the massive explosion claimed Garcia’s and a dozen other lives.

Sonoran Gov. Alfonso Durazo was in Nacozari on Monday to commemorate the heroic act. He said that the greatness of Garcia’s spirit is the same found in the thousands of men and women who helped forge Sonora throughout its history.

In 1909, the state congress officially addedGarcia to Nacozari’s name to honor the man who saved it.

Born and raised in the Intermountain West, Murphy Woodhouse has called southern Arizona home for most of the last decade. He’s one of two field correspondents at KJZZ’s Hermosillo bureau, where his reporting focuses on the trade relationship between Arizona, Sonora and the rest of Mexico.Before joining the station, Murphy was a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star and the Nogales International. Prior to his reporting career, he completed a master’s degree at the University of Arizona’s Center for Latin American Studies and did three wildfire seasons with the Snake River Hotshots. He’s a proud graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism.When he’s not reporting, Murphy is often out in the woods running or riding singletrack, or swinging in a hammock with a book.