A Haitian-American wideout for the Indianapolis Colts, Garcon was jolted by the news of Tuesday afternoon's 7.0 magnitude earthquake, which devastated much of his family's homeland. The quake ravaged the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, destroying much of the city and leaving a countrywide death toll that early estimates put at 500,000 and rising.
"It's terrible," Garcon said. "It's probably the worst thing that could ever happen. It's probably worse than a nightmare. It's a poor country and this just makes it worse.
"I couldn't believe it. I was like 'An earthquake in Haiti?' I never could imagine it, because I only think of earthquakes in California and out there. I never could believe it. A Caribbean earthquake, I didn't see it coming."
Garcon's immediate family, including his mother, father, and three older sisters were all born in Haiti, which is the poorest country in the region of the Americas, and has proven to be one of the slowest developing nations in the world. Garcon's family immigrated to the United States prior to his birth in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 1986.
He was preparing for Saturday's playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens when he first learned of the disaster, and has since kept close contact with his mother, who is living in Florida and has been trying to reach uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who still live in the island nation. But such contact has been difficult, as Haiti's already poor infrastructure was devastated by the quake, knocking out much of the country's power and telephone lines.
"[We] haven't heard much from them," Garcon said. "We're still waiting to see. Mom is trying to call. Hopefully [we'll] get some good news. … I have a lot of people – a lot of close people."
Garcon last visited Haiti during the 2008 season, when he missed a game to attend his grandmother's funeral. He has been one of the surprising bright spots for the Colts this season, after being drafted in the sixth round out of tiny Mount Union College in 2008, and spending much of last season with a small reserve role. But his exceptional speed became a major asset this season for quarterback Peyton Manning(notes), and Garcon finished the season with 765 yards and four touchdowns.
He still plans to play in this weekend's playoff game, but said he plans to travel to Haiti when he can.
"There's a lot of survivors down there, so I'm going to do my best to get out there and get through it, but I don't even know what to think now," Garcon said. "… It's tough, but you know, [I] can't do much so I just have to do my best here, try to play through them – play for them. I know they're proud that I'm trying to represent them and give them a little hope and something to think about besides what they're going through."
Added Colts coach Jim Caldwell, "He's trying to do his part and hoping that obviously the great fans here and those who have the means to do so would help with funding and things of that nature. It's a tragic situation. I'm sure it's weighing heavy on his heart. What we can do is support him and pray for him."
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