Family raising funds to bring Mark Garza home to Clovis, California

As reported by KMPH Fox News out of Fresno, California, Mark Garza’s family from Clovis, California is now working to help bring Mark back home for a final time, after he passed away last week on a business trip in the Czech Republic.

Garza had been living out his passion, coaching football in Germany.

He had been a standout at Clovis High School, and went on to play at the university and semi-professional level. He helped the Fresno Bandits win championships in the early 90’s.

He was inducted into the Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame for his coaching legacy overseas.

“Mark was my best friend in the world,” said Oscar Garza, Matt’s older brother.

He says Garza’s goal in life was to make a difference for others—on and off the football field.

“One of Mark’s philosophies was he can make your son a better football player, but he can make him a better human being as well,” Garza says. “Mark was one of the type of person who makes dreams come true.”

He helped some fulfill their football dreams in the U.S. by inviting them to play in Europe.

“They could get film on themselves and send it to a free agent combine and say here’s what I’ve been doing, here’s my stats,” Garza said.

Oscar Garza says his brother even made his dream come true.

“I always wanted to coach with him,” he says. “He made it happen in Poland.”

Mark Garza settled in Germany in 1998 and most recently coached the Magdeburg Virgin Guards.

He got married and leaves behind three children. He was the family’s breadwinner – adding to the sense of urgency to raise funds.

“His wife is crushed and she’s having to deal with this by herself,” Garza says.

Garza called the process of coordinating the return of his brother’s remains to the U.S. as “daunting” and says it took the help of the U.S. State Department to get the ball rolling.”

“You have the difference of time, and the language barrier,” he says.

As far as he knows, Mark Garza’s autopsy found no signs of foul play.

Now, the focus is on giving him a heartfelt goodbye – and a celebration worthy of the joy he spread to others over several decades.

“It’s very surreal. I just talked to him on Facebook the day before,” Oscar Garza says. “He was a light. He was a light.”

If you’d like to help the family with funeral expenses, you can click here for Mark Garza’s GoFundMe site, or you can reach Oscar Garza at +1 559-826-8539.

Original story by Liz Gonzalez for

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