My Friend Jose,
If I could describe Jose M Perez in one word, it would be Altruistic. The dictionary defines altruistic as, “Unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others.” Jose exemplified this definition in both his personal and professional life. Born in South LA on December 9, 1975 as one of ten children, he realized early on in life that true happiness was found in helping others. As a child, he would accompany his mother, picking up cans, and then donate the proceeds to families less fortunate. As a teenager in high school, he would search out the “outcasts” to make sure they were included. He joined the LAFD in December of 2003 and served for over 16 years. His assignments included Fire Stations 39, 52, 65, 21, and almost 14 years spent at Fire Station 33. During his time on the job he was always going above and beyond in both the station and out on calls. Jose would routinely head up station projects, including restoring salvaged apparatus to be donated to the Dominican Republic and Mexico with no accolades ever needed. His patient care was second to none, proven by the fact on multiple occasions, former patients and their families would stop by the station to say thank you. One year, Jose even invited a former patient that had fallen on hard times to come by the fire station for a holiday meal. His selflessness also extended to his coworkers. Countless times offering his help for moving days, personnel projects, and sometimes even financial help for those in need. His favorite saying being, “I got you, Buddy” made sense in the way he was always willing to help and asked nothing in return. His generosity continued when he was off duty as well.
On a trip to Mexico with friends, he began buying clothes and shoes for children selling gum on the streets. He was undeterred when his friend began joking that if he helped them all, they would never make it back to Los Angeles. Jose simply stated, “one kid at a time, buddy.” Having worked alongside Jose for the majority of his career, I saw that the one thing he cared about above all else was his family. Survived by his wife, Heidi, and three young children, he would always go over the top to show them how much he cared. Renting costumes to wear as his young son’s favorite superheroes, hiring speed and conditioning coaches to fuel his older son’s football aspirations, and it is rumored he once dressed as a princess for his young daughters’ birthday. Looking to spend time with his family while at work he would organize “family days” at the fire station with no expense sparred. The days often included inflatable jump houses, cotton candy machines, taco carts, and the occasional mariachi band. With stories of selflessness, hard work, and devotion so common, Jose set the standard in service to others. A standard worth striving for. Jose Perez was an outstanding Son, Husband, Father, Uncle, Paramedic, Firefighter, Coworker, and Friend. He will be sorely missed by his family and all who had the privilege of knowing him.