Sitting atop a soft bench in the physical therapy room at Moody Clinic, Maria Garza secured rainbow-colored ankle-foot orthoses to 3-year-old Dafne Medrano’s legs at the end of her appointment.

Sitting atop a soft bench in the physical therapy room at Moody Clinic, Maria Garza secured rainbow-colored ankle-foot orthoses to 3-year-old Dafne Medrano’s legs at the end of her appointment.

Garza, a therapy aide, said the girl couldn’t walk and didn’t speak much one year ago. Moments before, a smiling Dafne used a walker to successfully make her way down the hallway.

“You see this little bud, and you see the flower blooming,” Garza said. “She’s so social. So those are the ones you remember.”

Despite celebrating 30 years with the Moody Clinic, founded in 1952 to provide physical therapy services and later speech therapy to Brownsville children, Garza said it has never felt like work.

The mother of two started out at the clinic as a driver transporting children from Lincoln Park High School to the nonprofit therapy center.

“The need arose for assisting patients, and that’s when I was called to help,” she said.

Garza assists the physical therapist, who sometimes may have two or three children come in for sessions at once. It’s not just the work the clinic does but her co-workers who keep her ready to get up for work each day.

“This is the first place you can actually say we all work as a team,” she said. “I’m a mom, and I see what I would be like if (the patients) were my children. They’ve all become, in a way, my adopted children.”

A more complete version of this story is available at www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com