Today’s episode is my conversation with Jose. Not only is he a friend and coworker but he is also one of the most genuine and caring human beings I know. He’s a firefighter and a medic as well as a damned good realtor. Jose shares his early life experiences of growing up in Honduras and his family’s escape to the United States. He also discusses his struggles as a young man finding his way, losing a coworker to suicide, and his own health scare.

Stack: Thank you for joining me for another episode of the things we all carry today’s episode is my conversation with Jose. Not only is Jose, a friend and a coworker, but he’s one of the most genuine and caring human beings. I know he’s a firefighter and a medic as well as a damn good realtor. Be careful to talk to him for too long. And you’ll find yourself walking away with a mortgage.

Jose shares his early life experience of growing up in Honduras and his family’s escape to the United States. He also discusses his struggles as a young man finding his way. Losing her coworker to suicide. And this own health scare.

Jose was kind and generous enough to invite me into his home to record. I can’t thank him enough for the conversation, his friendship and his support. A quick reminder to please help us build a community which not only recognizes, but supports each other through the struggles and recovery. Reach out through Instagram @thethingsweallcarry

or email To offer support and share your own story. Please remember to leave a review on iTunes. And give a shout out to any first responder you know love or care about y’all enjoy the show

All right. How you feeling? Good. Good. So you ready to go? Yeah. Let’s see if I can butcher this introduction and we’ll go from there. I’ll let you run with the mic and we’ll see what. All right today, I’m sitting down with Jose, he’s welcomed me into his home to talk about his past and what he’s doing now.

He’s 10 years with his current department, 14 years, total service between here and Las Vegas with EMS and some suppression at the Las Vegas motor Speedway, which sounds pretty cool. I’d love to do some of that on the Speedway. I’ll let Jose start with his family history.

He’s got an interesting background about growing up and then we’ll go from there. How you doing Jose? Oh, I’m good.

Jose: Good. Thank you so much for coming over. Spending some time with us here at the house. Apologize for my welcoming with my dog sugar

Stack: oh, no,

Jose: dog was just fine. but yeah, like you said, it’s a little bit of interesting, a lot of the things that points that I’ll bring up today, most people don’t know about me, but yeah, I think it’s a, something good to share and may help somebody as well.

But yeah, so my family we come from Honduras. I was actually born out there as well. That’s central America, but I lived there till I was eight years old, eight years old. That’s when I came over here and yeah, my, my parents actually, it was interesting because they lived out there, did it very well.

My dad was in the military out there. He ended up coming back here to the states, along with my mom, became residents. And at one point he became a citizen. At that time with the amnesty in the process, they went back to Honduras. I was born along with my sister and yeah, we were, everything was just normal.

I guess we never thought of coming back here that wasn’t really in the plans from what at least, or what I can remember, but yeah, that ended up changing. My, my dad ended up having some issue. Out there. And so he I remember I was eight years old. He, she came up to the house, showed up. There was just like you would imagine in the movies, bunch of dudes outside, fully automatic weapons.

And he was like, Hey, we got a pack. We gotta go. I’m not quite sure exactly what happened. Cause every time I bring it up with him, he Def deflect for me. Doesn’t really wanna talk about that stuff. But he had his left eye was completely, or his right eye was completely closed. So he had gotten into some altercation.

Somebody hit him, his eye was shut. He had glasses on. He told my mom, he, she said, Hey, they said, Hey, we gotta get going. We gotta get on a plane. And so I remember hearing my mom say what are we gonna do with my middle name’s? Louis said, what are we gonna do with Luis and Kayla? They, we can’t take him.

We gotta move him around, but we gotta go. So they gotta on a plane. and then they left. So at that time I ended up they left, but you stayed? Yes. Okay. I stayed in Honduras. My sister and I they ended up moving us. So I ended up moving from San Pedro Soula TOPA, which is the capital from hon Honduras.

And I was getting to move around some family members. My sister was also moving around in San Pedro between other family as well. So every couple days we get to move it got to the point that six months went by. So he ended up making a decision. My dad did that. He said, we gotta get back and pick him up.

We can’t leave him out there. They had to submit her on my paperwork. Duke become a citizen, but it takes time. So they made the choice. He went down, picked us up. The odd thing was that the, I had no idea that I wasn’t born here. Cause all my brothers were born here. But except my sister my sister and I were not.

But if you listen to like our names, like my name’s Jose, my brother’s name is Kevin, then there’s Christian, David, and then there’s Eric. So it was like, the names are a

Stack: little bit, it’s a little bit of a giveaway right there. Yeah,

Jose: man. I’m like, come on, man. couldn’t name me Arnold or something.

Stack: but I might just have to call you Arnold from now on just,

Jose: So yeah, it was odd.

So they ended up bringing me over. I was eight, we got to California. And we lived there for quite some time. But during that whole time from that point till I was in high school, I always had these odd dreams, I guess you would say. And I would dream certain things like, like almost that we’re playing, like we’re hiding playing cops and robbers hiding inside.

Like these bushes that had these black blankets around them. Covering things up. They didn’t quite understand what they were about one day. I told my mom, I said, Hey, I always had these weird dreams, these bushes. And then we jump over this like small little wall. We get into this yellow cab and we get a blanket on top.

And then dad starts talking about we’re playing cops and robbers. So we gotta be quiet. And she was just looking at me odd. She was like, you remember that? I was like there’s some dreams I have. It’s that really happened when we brought you here. That’s exactly what happened. We had to hide you in a coup inside a couple bushes because the patrol cars were driving around and they would flash the lights at the bushes.

So the blankets were inside. So you couldn’t see through them. And then when they would drive by, they’ll move us to this other area. And then we ended up driving across.

Stack: So is that like the typical thing you hear about with coyotes or did they do that by

Jose: themselves? No. So they had because in Honduras we were well off.

So we didn’t live. Like you would see, like in the movies where people are struggling. We were very fortunate. My dad did business out there. And so I always grew up seeing that. So he had the finances to get us here in a different, in a safer way, I guess you would say without us being okay, so you

Stack: weren’t being, it wasn’t a typical coyote thing.

No. Cause when you say hiding in bushes and so that was just them taking precautions? Yes.

Jose: Okay. But we had. Everything that was necessary at that point, fortunately, so we didn’t have to really worry about that too much. But when we got to California, it was like a show, just a shelter shock for me, because in Honduras we had literally everything, I remember having ladies like maids that cleaned their house and people that would drive me to school.

My dad had multiple properties, so we never really, I never saw the other side, what people, most of people think of central America, huge poverty struggle, there was that around us. But fortunately my dad had done a good job of keeping that from us. But when we got to the states, we got to California, it was a completely different world.

First of all, I didn’t speak English and then it was just crazy to live in a one bedroom apartment. With a lot of different family members and it was hard, it was a really rough situation. How many were living in the apartment at that time? We had, it was my parents and then I had a knot. So I would probably say 11 in that place.

That’s a lot of people in the living room apartment and the one bedroom. So yeah, it was a lot of us. But yeah, but the fortunate thing that happened to me was that at that time I was super bitter coming here. I didn’t want to be here. But they ended up the school system in California was a little bit different.

They had the first three years I went through, they had the ESL program like everyone else, but it was three consecutive years, only English. And I remember the conversation a teacher had on my parents. They said cuz they said your son’s not gonna have a track break. He’s gonna go to school the whole year.

Okay. So then they said, okay but what is he gonna he’s he gonna take other classes? They said, no, he’s really gonna take English classes. So it’s

Stack: just a, an intense course in English to, for

Jose: three years. Okay. So I remember even when I was sitting down in the class, I would only sit with other kids that made, they made sure that I didn’t sit next to a kid that spoke Spanish.

I never sat with a kid that could communicate with me. We had to learn English. Gotcha. So we went through that and then I took some like action removal classes and things like that, but that helped us tremendously because it allowed me they said the opportunity to communicate. But they were super adamant about that.

I said, who cares if he’s great at math and history, if he can’t communicate and it doesn’t matter, he’ll be so behind compared to everybody else. So they pushed super hard for that. And that helped

Stack: so three years of that, three years of that, and it was legitimately that

Jose: Just English, I didn’t.

It’s just now if you start asking me what’s the capital of, I don’t know. I’m like, I don’t know, but thankfully we have a phone

Stack: now that it’s I was gonna say most most natural born Americans can’t name capital. So don’t worry

Jose: about that. Yeah. I was so behind with that, a no idea. But yeah, I didn’t know.

So I went through that, the school system at that time we ended up moving a couple different places and it was interesting because there’s a lot of the things that we got to see, right? Like we talk about like our grandparents or parents when I was young, I had to walk 10 miles. It was interesting because that’s really what we did, but we just didn’t know that other kids weren’t doing that.

Cuz where I moved to for us to be able to go to, for me to be able to go to that school in sixth grade, I had to take a private, just a public bus or, but what I would do is, cause I love cherry pie. I would walk like a mile and a half to two miles so I can save the dollar that my mom would gimme for the.

To buy a pie to buy a pie.

Stack: so did you graduate high

Jose: school in California? No. I ended up we left because my, my, my father ended up doing business again, but he was working in Las Vegas at that time economy was booming. So he was working in Cal in I’m sorry, in Las Vegas, working there and then traveling back for the weekends.

So they made the decision that we were gonna move. And I think that’s where I got that I wasn’t, they never really got scared of making huge decisions like that. Cause I saw my parents just make them overnight. So they said we’re moving. It’s like, all so they took me outta school and we moved to Las Vegas.

We ended up in north Las Vegas, it’s right behind the stratosphere, which is like probably one of the worst places to live at that time. Right now it’s probably worse, but we ended up going there and it was like, again, we took another step back. we move, we moved to a studio at this time. What grade were you?

I was in sixth grade. Okay, so

Stack: you still relatively

Jose: young? Yeah, I was still relatively young. Sixth grade. We ended up moving in there and at that time again, it was like 12 family members on the studio. I got to sleep couch, rotate different places, but my parents along with my sister slept in the bedroom that always kept her and Derek.

She was a girl. But yeah we did that. It was interesting. There was one day that, I always asked my dad for a bike and he was like, he didn’t have the funds, but one day he got me a bike. Which I couldn’t ride, I was an adult bike, but I was riding this bike. And it’s funny cause I was riding it to school in sixth grade and this like homeless guy comes out by seven 11 and he was, he tells me, he’s Hey man, that’s my bike.

You stole my bike. I was like, no, I didn’t steal it. We bought it from somebody. He said somebody stole my bike and sold it to you guys. And I was like, oh man, I didn’t know. So I got off the bike and I was like, here, man, you can have your bike back. And he was like, nah, man. He’s no kid just take the bike.

And I was like, at that point, never really

Stack: sense. Click it. What, so what did you ever get a resolution on that? Yeah, somebody,

Jose: the guy stole the bike from him. Okay. And sold it to my dad. So it was his bike to begin with. It was, yeah. So he, I guess he went to seven 11 to buy something. And when he went in there to buy whatever it was, I’m sure it wasn’t a book.

He came back and the bike was gone and so you bought a homeless

Stack: man’s bike. I bought some

Jose: not you, your dad. Yeah. My dad did well. He, he was like, Hey, just my dad told me, he said just take a different route to school. That’s what he said. Cause back then. So we, yeah, we did that for a little bit.

You, then we moved from there. He started doing better with. but the, I think the, I would like to say that at some point in my, in, I remember in my life there’s always been like a turning point or something that, that has made us go a different direction and that has helped us. And so whether it was positive or negative in that, at that age, that time, I remember my dad used to, he would take us to the boys and girls club, which was down the road.

It was like Martin Luther king street. And then we would go over. I went in there to the boys and girls club and I saw these, this fire engine show up and I was like blown away. I was like, what the heck is that? Saw the red units and all this stuff. And everybody was happy to see him. So I remember walked up to him and I asked them what they were doing.

He said over in the fire department. And I asked him, I said, how do I. How did I become one, and he told me, he said, don’t drink, do great in school. Don’t lie. He went through this whole list and I took that thing to heart. I didn’t touch. I remember when I got hired in the county, I had never drank a beer at that point.

Never had a beer, never had anything because I was

Stack: told. And you were hired in 2013? Yes. So that was, yeah, I was in

Jose: my late twenties and almost early thirties. Cause I had up to that point. I never, cause I believed this, the guy I said, that’s what it’s gonna take.

Stack: Someone told you that to be a firefighter.

You shouldn’t drink. Yeah. That’s great advice.

Jose: Yeah. He told me don’t drink and he went through this whole list, so I’ll believed them. But on the way home we were leaving, I told my dad I’m be one of those guys, and work like that. And he was like, yeah, you should. But some guy that we, our neighbor, he told my dad, he he said, Hey, you got some good kids of gave, him and my dad was like, thanks.

he’s if you really love him, I wanted to see him do well, you should get him outta here. He told him that, and

Stack: this was the original spot, the one

Jose: behind the stratosphere. Yeah. Behind the stratosphere. And my dad was like in shock. He said, yeah, I had, I lived here with my kids and they both got into gangs and they both died.

You should move your kids outta here. So my dad took that to heart thankfully, and he continued to work. He moved us to the east side of town where people had like a lawn and some yard, nice properties. We didn’t live quite there yet, but we got to see that, and so that’s where I went to high school.

So I went to Las Vegas high school and started there my high school life, my parents seeing my parents working and just trying to get ahead at that point. But yeah, it was interesting just to see how hard they were working and. And just, what was your mom doing at the time? So she was working in the casinos.

Okay. She at that point she would she was the one that would clean the machines. And then by the time we moved to the stratosphere, oh, out the stratosphere and into the east side of town, at that point, she was she became the manager basically scheduled people to go clean the machines.

But yeah, so it was interesting seeing her do that. Cause she didn’t speak English, but she put herself to school, started learning, learned the language and then she kept working hard, and then we started having our issues. I would say at that point it was interesting because when we started doing better, that’s when we started seeing right.

The, I always learned that like the biggest disease that we normally run into is complacency and success. If you don’t know how to handle it, if it comes too quick, it’s a problem. And I think that’s what happened with my dad. He saw it too quick. He saw it so fast. that he thought it was all done, that the work was done.

Oh. That

Stack: the work was done. That he could stand down.

Jose: Yeah. He can now put his guard down. He can relax. And he can just enjoy himself. But yeah, he got into super drinking a lot and stuff like that. And by this point in high school I was working my plan was to go to school to become an architect.

So I was working at the stratosphere. I’m sorry, not the stratosphere at circus. I was a bus person in some restaurant caught the ping pony . So I worked there for four years. I was a bus person there, but I started learning some interesting things there from people that worked there, I started, saving and trying to manage things.

The other thing I learned was, and I started seeing was that there was such a huge difference with one person and another. My parents were working super hard and I felt like we were just always behind the ball. And then I was meeting people there that were doing so well. So I started wondering and questioning things, right?

Like how do I get into a better place? But I was getting home and the time started going and I saw was my dad drinking more and more. And then he started trying different things with drugs and things like that. And so that was the downfall, I would say. And at that point in our, with my parents we ended up, I ended up seeing him just completely fall apart.


Stack: age were you when that started?

Jose: I wanna say he had been already drinking my whole life, but to that extent I was probably junior, a junior or senior in high school. I was graduating. So by the time I graduated, I started school things. Got it. Got really outta control and yeah, so he ended up just leaving.

So I, I left school, got a second job and tried to help my. Cause she had two jobs at that point. So she was working just extreme amounts. I didn’t those years of my life. I don’t think I saw her very much. I was really raising my brothers as well, prompting me a hammer on ’em because I didn’t wanna them to end up the same way.

And then, so

Stack: She was doing what she had to do to make sure that she provided for you guys,

Jose: had she not done that we would’ve lost the house. We would’ve been in the street because she was working two full-time jobs in those days. Yeah, but she never complained. She just worked and worked tirelessly.

But I think that, I think fortune came my way. When I ended up meeting a friend revisiting with a friend of mine, they was selling cars. So he was like, you should come sell cars. I was still working at that point at circus, and struggling, trying to help my mom. So I left and they ended up going to.

Two circus, left circus. And then I went to sell cars at this dealership called planet Nissan. It was interesting because the gentleman that interviewed me, he was, he said, you got an sales experience. I was super shy, man. I couldn’t look at people in the face. You gave me a rebuttal. I was like, okay.

And he was like, you ever sold anything before? I was like, no, he was like, okay, you’re hired. And I was like, what?

Stack: Because he wanted to

Jose: mold you. Yeah. He’s you’re hired. And then he’s like, like, you speak Spanish. And I was like, yes, he’s like good. You’re the only Spanish speaker here in this store. So I was like, what does that mean?

He’s that means you will automatically make money. . So I was like, okay. He’s and then he asked me, he said, what do you need to make a month? I was like if I can make a thousand dollars a month, that was working circus money. If I can make a thousand dollars a month before I finish, he said, you make a thousand dollars a month.

I will fire you. I was like what? He said, there’s no way you are only making a thousand dollars a month. That means I’m failing you. I was like, okay. So I told him, I said, Hey man, just show me what I need to do. I got no problem working hard. I’ll do it. So he did, he started teaching me and then I just learned, kept learning.

And yeah, I kept reading the books, kept learning the, like the principles that were teaching me. But the more important one was that I had already learned from my parents was just hard work, so I was just making up the gap with hard

Stack: work. So how did we find, or excuse me, how do you find your way into the fire department?

Jose: So it was interesting because at that point I ended up meeting my ex and ex-wife. So a lot of people don’t know I was married at one point, but yeah, we ended up getting married. She ended up becoming a doctor. We moved to Arizona. And while we were there at the top of the list, it was that I was gonna be a firefighter.

That was my thing. I wanted to be a firefighter. I was, I hadn’t tested yet. I hadn’t started school was, I just didn’t know the process, but when I was out there things weren’t working out, she ended up basically telling me that she said, you always have all these plans and goals. You just don’t accomplish anything.

She’s like she said to me like her, the, these famous words, she said, not an average woman. I don’t wanna be with an average man. She told me that. And then she said, everything that you keep talking about, you’re not gonna do it. So I packed, my bags, drove from Arizona to Las Vegas. And then I realized I had this like super skill that I’m a very eventual person.

I was like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna work as long as it takes, but I’m gonna show her. So I made a list of all the things that I had started and I never. The number one was becoming a firefighter. So at that point, the economy was tanked 2008. So I moved back, but I’m too proud. So I didn’t wanna move to my parents’ house, my mom’s house.

So I ended up moving in with a friend of mine. His name is Javier. I was fortunate enough. They let me come to his apartment and I had lost everything. So the dealership that I worked for closed down economy had tanked my credit was in the street. I had no more money saved. I had to go work at a Wendy’s to keep my truck.

So I would go into this Wendy’s dress in my dress shirt, dress pants, and then I would walk out the same way. Cause I was like, this is just temporary. I gotta just make it happen. That Wendy’s helped me paid, signed up for my EMT school. I started there and an interesting thing that happened to me at that point that would later play into my, my future here.

Was that I remember one day I got outta work. I was, it was like Christmas time. So my mom called me, I was already filling the dumps. Cause I didn’t have anything at that point. And my mom called me. She was like, Hey, you should come over about to some presents. And I was like, oh, I can’t mom, I’m working.

She’s oh, are you still selling cars? I’m like, yeah, I’m selling cars. She had no idea. I was literally sleeping in a gym parking lot. Las Vegas athletic club. It’s called. I was sleeping in the parking lot. It’s funny the streets off for rainbow. I think it is. And I was parked there and I was like, I’m done.

I can’t do it anymore. This is not for me. I, I can’t keep going. So I had found, I couldn’t find a way or a reason or anything or how, I didn’t know what to do at that point. Cause I had no gas money. I had just enough to pay my truck payment that month. And then I had really nothing else. I started thinking about like how to commit suicide and things like that and planning it, but I was, I always grow up in church.

So my family always said that if you do something like that, you go straight to hell. No question. So I was like, all right, I gotta find a way to do that without going there. So I started planning that out. I remember I walked across the little bridge to get to my truck. And I had in my, I had with me because I would take food for like dinner and stuff from the Wendy’s.

So I would take like the chicken breast and I would take him to go box. So I had multiple when I had, I was carrying that and I got to my truck and I was just, man, I was, I couldn’t stop crying. I was just destroyed in my truck. And I’m thinking about what I’m gonna do and all these things. And then it’s at that point it’s like midnight close to midnight.

I get a weird call from this five 20 number area code that’s Arizona. So five 20. I get that number, that call that comes in. So I always start cleaning up myself. I’m thinking that’s my ex-wife trying to make things happen. I make it work. So I’m like cleaning myself up. So I answer, and it was this guy that I met when I was in Arizona.

I was only there for year and a half. This guy, I met there at a church and I gave him my number that was like six months ago, gave him my number. I hadn’t talked to him since never communicated with him. And he has no idea about me back then. There’s no Facebook that he’s checking my stuff.

We don’t believe in that stuff then. And he gives me a call and he says to me Hey, I’m just in, beding out with my wife. And yeah, he said, but he said, God, put me put her in my heart, man, to give you a call and to tell you that what you’re planning on doing, not to do it. He said, don’t.

He has big plans for you. He said you just gotta trust. You gotta trust him and keep going. He said, you’ll be in a place that you can’t imagine if you just keep going. And I just broke down. Cause I’m like, how was this guy to this day? I have no idea how this guy knew how to call me when to call me.

Cause I didn’t waited probably a couple hours. I probably would’ve been at no. So I I said, okay, I listened to him. And then he gave me an address to a church. He didn’t know where I was parked, but gave me an address to a church. And I ended up looking up a church from a GPS and it was like couple miles away.

So for the first couple months I would walk to that church. I was walking distance and then it was interesting because he said to me, before he hung up, he said, no matter what you do from this point on, he said, you’re not gonna fail to just. Just do whatever you want to do. Cause you’re not gonna fail at this point.

He’s you’ll succeed. I was like, okay. So I left. And I remember from that point, I didn’t have any money, but I would walk to the church. And then on the way there, I always found money to get for like offering. Cause I never had any money, but I always found money. Oddly enough, all my school got paid for my EMT stuff, my intermediate stuff, fire one stuff.

I didn’t have any money I, to this day, I can’t tell you how I paid for that stuff, cuz I didn’t make enough outta Wendy’s, but I ended up becoming super determined at that point. And then I got hired at me west. I worked there and I started working at the motor Speedway as well. So I was working at both of those and then going to school full time, I think to combine, I was making like $950 a month

Stack: just raking it in

Jose: just crushing but I was working, a ton and I remember I just.

Just kept going. Cause I kept believing what that guy told me that, that there was, he has this plan and it’s gonna work out. I said, this guy clearly knows something. Cuz he called me at that moment. Yeah, my mom, my parents don’t even know about any of that. I ended up this was the last week of fire one, fire two and graduating.

So at this point now I’m living with my mom. I’m on track with everything and I walked outside to go get in my truck to drive, but I’m like, man, I realize that I’m like, I forgot my keys. So I go back inside. I’m like, Hey mom, can I borrow $20 for gas? So she went to in her purse and she tried to look, look for $20 and she didn’t have any money.

And I’m 26, 27 years old, just been divorced. And I’m like, I can’t believe I’m sitting here asking my mom for money. She’s done so much already. and I was like, I can’t continue to do this. And then I walked out and I walked towards my truck that I had, and my truck was destroyed. Somebody tried to break in, somebody tried to break into my truck.

They weren’t able to steal it, but they broke the windows. They broke, like they put a screwdriver and tried to start it. They destroyed my truck. That was the breaking point. That was like, that’s it. I called a friend, took me to the class. I passed, got my certs. And then as soon as I went home, I started looking up top, most prosperous counties across the nation.

And Virginia has but at that time had six of ’em in there. So I was like, if I can’t make it there, I’ll just go back to hon earths.

Stack: So you applied out here.

Jose: At that point I hadn’t even applied yet.

Stack: I just, but from that you looked that up and then that’s where you start your search in Virginia

Jose: specifically?

I saw Virginia. Okay. And I saw Princeville and county, to be honest with you, people laugh, but I, they thought I thought it was like in Europe. Because I was like, what, who the hell’s name at that?

Stack: It must be in England. Yeah.

Jose: But I was like but they do pay well, in comparison where I was, so I was like, I’m gonna go.

So I told my parents that I was my mom. I said, Hey, I’m gonna go visit some friends in Virginia. I’ll come back. That was like the hardest day. Cuz I knew it was a different, it was a different day. I told her, said, I’ll come back. She was like, who are you gonna visit? Who do you know out there? I was like, oh, just some friends, but I knew that day I was leaving when I was getting on the plane that I wasn’t gonna come back unless I was successful. I was not coming back. That was, I drew that line there. I was like, they’re gonna either bury me out there, but I’m not coming back.

Stack: So you land in Virginia. Where do you go?

Jose: I went to Richmond.

So from Richmond, I stayed at the polo club for a week. That’s some apartment there and then I started running a room in Pennsylvania. So I rented a room from there. I bought a. For $300. It was 91 Lumina 300,000 miles. I it’s a, but that thing was a monster . But yeah I started driving that and that’s what I was working in the mall for a while.

While I was, I applied in the fire department at that time, and then I thought it was like in Las Vegas and the west coast. Cause up to that point, I had applied five or six times out there. And the smallest test that I took was in Contra Costa in California and it was like 25,000 people and they had three positions.

So I had no shot there, Texas. I went to Lubbock, Texas. That was an interesting place to went out there. Cause I was trained, to take these tests at this point, it’s been years now going after it. So I showed up with a suit and tie with my friend, Brandon and. The guy, the people testing are wearing jeans, button up shirts.

And he says, he, Brandon and I he’s like where are you from? Boy? He says that to me. and so I started laughing and I looked at Brandon and I was like, did you hear that? And he’s I was like LA Las Vegas. And he said, Las Vegas, New Mexico. I was like Las Vegas, Nevada. And he is you’re a long ways away from home.


Stack: dope. The classic you’re a long way from home.

Jose: Yep. I heard that. And I was like, I told, Brandon said, dude, you can stay if you want. I’m gonna put D on

Stack: everything. put

Jose: D on everything. I said, I’m outta here. I’m gonna fail this one. For sure. so he’s for real, I’m like dead serious.

Stack: So you’re living in Pennsylvania.

, you’ve got the Lumina. Yeah. How long before you, you find a spot,

Jose: In the fire department or yeah, in the fire. So they actually accepted applications within about two months, three months after I got here. So thankfully for me, they were doing applications at that time. This would’ve

Stack: been 2012, correct?

  1. Jose: Okay. So I applied 11 went into 12, so I applied and I remember I took the application process and went in with the test, took the test. I passed it by, I remember one point I barely passed. So when do you start recruit school? We started January 27th, I believe January 21st. I think it was January something, but in the twenties, we started there and did a six month recruit school, which is super different because I’m not used to, the humidity So when we were in recruit school, they used to try to make us take our mask off. I couldn’t breathe. So I always leave it on and just go through bottles and they were like, you gotta take your mask off. I was like, I can’t breathe if I take it off you don’t tea either. You take it off or you’re really not gonna breathe, but yeah, I stayed there.


Stack: so let’s get into your fire department career. What’s it been like for you? What have you done or not? What have you done, but what have you experienced?

Jose: It was awesome going to station eight. I got to go to eight. Some of the guys that I work with Marshall Warham

Stack: Marshall being from a previous episode that we’ve

Jose: done.

Yeah. He’s amazing. He’s that guy played a huge role in my life later on as well. Mike Shaw and then one of my senior tus was also a Marcelo Trejo that I got to work with there at at eight I learned a lot from those guys. They’re always very giving and they pushed me and yeah, I had a different, it was a very hard situation.

I think I had a different perspective when everything happened with Trejo. just

Stack: because of the ex explain for some of the people that might not have listened to who not aware of Trayo

Jose: as much. Marcelo. He was at tech two. He was there at station eight and it was 4th of July. He ended up committed suicide and it was a hard situation.

The hardest part for me was that, like a lot of us have a lot of training. They always say you’ll be able to find, look for things. I used to hang out with this guy a lot. Most people didn’t know that, but I would hang out with him at the station a lot on the weekends. I still had my kiosks.

So he would always come over to the kiosks. He would bring Sophie over and we would just laugh. Like I would be doing my little pitch, trying to sell somebody who would grab my ass and be like, I love that one. Thank you, honey. And I’m like, what the heck? But we just had a great relationship. The thing that really affected me was that.

it was July 3rd, the day before he came over to the station. Cause he had gone to Baltimore to get a bunch of equipment for the gym and he bought a punching bag. He bought, he, he got a bunch of things that they got donated to the fire department. He took his vehicle and picked it up. So he called me.

He’s Hey man, I’m gonna be over there shortly. Can you come out and help me load it up? I’m like, yeah, for sure. So I picked it up with him, took it upstairs and then we put it all together, washed his car. He was like telling me, he was like, Hey man you coming over tomorrow. And I was like, no, going over his house, 4th of July.

I was like, no, I’m gonna just get at the house. Cause at that point I really was by myself. So didn’t really had much to do, but he was like, no, you’re coming over. And it became this huge thing cuz I don’t like inconvenience people. I always feel like I am. So I’m always like no I’m good, man. I’m good.

And he kept pushing, you’re going. You’re going. So excuse me, that day. I went, he finally convinced me. I said, okay. I went home. Cause we were in day work, got out. I went home and I went to the mall, bought some clothes, got ready. I was like, gotta go to this guy’s house. So it was like forced the line.

I was like 12, one or so. And I remember I got a ton of calls from captain Erickson at that time, but I didn’t really answer, just cause nobody really talks to a captain on your day off. So I kept seeing him and I was like, oh, I don’t wanna answer. So I didn’t answer. Then his wife messaged me on Facebook.

She said, Jose, you need to call Leif now’s an emergency. So I was like, oh man. So then I called him and then that’s when he told me what happened. And I got so angry at him when he said that to me because at angry at, at Leif or yeah, at Leif. Cause I thought he was just kidding. I didn’t. I was in such a, when I heard that, I, I didn’t even, I never been in a situation like that, so I never heard that before, so or anything like that.

And that’s, that was somebody that I really cared about and one of my good friends. So when I heard that I almost got, I took it. I was very offensive towards it, so I remember I yelled at him. I said, don’t ever say something like that again. And I hung up on him. Cause it took me back to my, when I was in that situation.

So I called Marshall immediately. I called the station, I called Marshall and I said, Hey, soon as Marshall was on duty that day he was on duty. So when I called him, I was at Marshall. I was like, Hey man. And he, I could hear in his voice that he wasn’t. Okay. He’s one of the strongest people I know.

And I could hear in his voice and I was like, Hey, Marshall, did that really happen? That’s all I asked. and he’s yeah, buddy. Yeah, I did. And he said that, and then he, I don’t know what I could remember. The rest, I just hung up and I man it, destroyed me for a long time. It was still one of the hardest things, because I, for me, the hardest part was that somebody intervene for me, in a time where I was gonna do the same thing, and I, I don’t know how that happened. I don’t know why, but it happened. And then I held that I held like a grudge. Cause I’m like, how come I couldn’t be that person that would intervene for him, or somebody else. So there was, I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t see a sign and yeah, he would talk about, family life and everything, but never, I never saw him to a point where I would question that,

Stack: so you never felt you saw a sign that he was in

Jose: trouble? No. No. Seeing him the day before talking to him the day before, I would never would’ve imagine. And that’s what got me for the longest time. It bothered me because I didn’t, I felt like almost like I let him down, because I didn’t see something, I didn’t nothing, we sat outside and talked and got made plans for the next day.

Stack: I was gonna say funny. It’s not funny, obviously, cuz we’re talking about suicide and I’ve talked about Mar Marcelo’s suicide a couple times on the show with Marshall and with Brian. He hid it very well and yeah, that was obvious. And I just, I’m just curious. We’ll never know, but I, it was, I think it was a spur of the moment thing for Marcella because yeah.

He had made the plans for 4th of July. He had things set up. He, so I don’t think there were signs to, to be seen on July 3rd because I don’t think he had it in a MI in his mind

Jose: to do that. Yeah, I think you’re right. So I thought it was It’s insane because a couple weeks before he had ordered me, cuz I, I used to complain about my, my, my name on my coat.

Your name plate on your coat? Yeah, my name plate. Cause it was brown. Everybody else had a black one. So I was like, dude, this is terrible. I was like, I feel like I’m a rookie again. So I would’ve tell Marcello. I’m like, dude, where do I buy one? I just wanna buy one. I don’t want this brown one. So he’s that’s what the county’s going for.

I’m like, dude, I don’t care. I said they gotta make everybody else wear brown then. So I complained enough that he ordered me some, and so he ordered some for me. And then and then he wanted to start this tradition. So he had his rookie helmet. I would here in my house and he had the helmet and he’s Hey man.

He’s you’re my first rookie. So you finished. So he put my name, my, my tag on it. And he said it was his first rookie one. And then he put mine. He said, so whenever you get a rookie, give him a helmet. And then. How I passed down, I must have asked him like a hundred times. Can I just keep your helmet?

He, nah, man. Nah, I just passed down. Can I keep your helmet? No, I just passed down. Come on, let keep your helmet. He’s no, it just passed down. Cause that was his rookie helmet. And so when all that’s, when all that happened, I ended up getting, I had his helmet and then I had the identifiers and everything that he put on him on the, on it, that it was like the original ones.

He got new ones. So when I got that, I remember his wife came over, talked to us and I was just, I was a disaster man. So I felt bad cause I had that helmet and stuff that he had given to me. I of went to the bay with her and I told her that, that that I was sorry that I had that helmet, that she should probably have it.

And I went to give it to her. She said, Nope, he told me about that helmet. He said, and he told me what it meant. He told me what you meant to him. And then he, she said that he had in the note that he left, that he told he said something about that. He loved his guys and he said, and he always told me how much he loves you.

So make sure you keep it. And then that day I remember I took, try to took a different approach and I was like, I’m gonna live my life. If it’s for both of us, so I wasn’t already, I wasn’t procrastinating back then, but it made me completely different. After that.

Stack: I know we talked about it when the other day, when you and I had a phone call.

You talked about some of the advice that Marcello would give you throughout the day or throughout the time you spent together. You wanted to talk about some of that.

Jose: Yeah, he, it was interesting because he would always tell me that. he would just say, don’t procrastinate. He said you’re gonna do really well.

But he used to tell me to make sure I, my day was planned before. No, he said, finish your day before it starts. He used to tell me that. And I used to be ask him what are you talking about? He said, and you make sure you don’t start your new day, without first writing down or planning it for the next day.

So you need to have a path to where you want to go need to have a list, your goals. And then one thing he used to tell me all the time, cuz I used, always saw it with him. You give people a hug or give people compliments. Like he always give me compliments or whoever we work with for whatever, if you burped, then he thought it was amazing.

I’d be like, Hey man, great job with that. And I was like, I used to tell him all the time, cause that was odd to me. How come you do that? And he, I remember he said something to me. He said, I find that most people give compliments and they do. They, they tell somebody when they’re doing something awesome or great.

He’s like when they die. he said, why not just tell ’em when they’re alive. He’s like that way, when you go to their funeral, you really have nothing else left to say, cuz you said everything positive, you could to them. And they heard it. And I was like, you know what? You’re right. You’re right. And then from that point, like even with this like I saw a bottle, I was like, I’m gonna get it from cause there’s no reason why it’s just wanted to do it, so if I’m at work and somebody does something great, I’m like, Hey man, you’re doing amazing. There’s always a line of people I think. And he was right. There’s a huge line of people waiting to tell us what we do wrong. There’s a very small line. People were willing to say what you’re doing.

And I think it takes a different level of maturity to see what people are doing and their effort and then telling him that, so yeah. I learned those things from him. And then he used tell me all the time he said, Hey man, he’s I you’re gonna be very, you’re gonna be successful.

You’re gonna do very well. he’s you just gotta keep going. Don’t tell anybody your goals. Don’t tell em, everybody what you’re doing. Cuz at this point I used to drive. I was already driving at that point to Potomac, Maryland in my 91 Lumina I would get on the highway on my days off and drive over there to go see like nice houses and see things like that.

Just cause I always wanted to see how other people lived to help me, and motivate me and drive me, and even though it was like a laughing sock at the station, everybody’s this guy’s a, he’s a weirdo or whatever he used to tell me all the time, keep going, keep doing that.

And it, his advice paid off. It was right. All the things he would tell me. Yeah, they paid off.

Stack: So July 4th you get the phone call and you start to deal with that. What’s it like from the few days or week after that for you

Jose: guys? I was useless, so I couldn’t go to, I couldn’t do anything. I would literally, I was, they had a meeting, they set up a little meeting.

I don’t remember if it was at Chili’s or Applebee’s. I think they said in, in Manassas, the guys at the station, they set up a meeting and I got there. I couldn’t even talk like I was, for the, I was just really destroyed, just because again, the, I didn’t know, I wasn’t, I feel like I couldn’t help ’em, but it was really difficult for like months, and then I think that was probably one of the reasons that I wanted to go to paramedic school was so bad. Cause I felt at that time I felt that I just didn’t know enough to have seen something. Or understood. What

Stack: do you mean to have seen in Marcello?

Jose: Yeah. Okay. All right. So I felt like maybe just didn’t have enough training.

I just didn’t know enough, so maybe I need to learn more. So my, then my drive was like, I need to go to paramedic school so I could prevent that. And then I just kept going, because I didn’t know, how to handle that. Cause it was probably one of the hardest things that I’ve ever experienced.

Stack: So what do you think got you through it?

Jose: I think it was just the conversation that I had, with her joy after she told me that what he used to tell her. And then the decision that I made after that, that I needed her to make sure that I’ve Al this I’ve always thought like this myself that when somebody teaches me something takes the time, to gimme any type of information that helps me The first thing that we wanna do normally is thank them.

Hey man, thank you for the information or thank you for whatever it is. I understood and I learned early that the best way to thank somebody is to apply what they taught you and then thank them with the results, right? Because then they didn’t waste their time. But if you gimme all this information, you gimme all this, and then I just thank you.

But I don’t do anything with it. Did I really take that? Did I really apply it? And so I was I made it a priority to make sure that I applied everything and then I did it daily, so I thank people daily. If I do random stuff, I just, sometimes I’ll be driving to a station. I’m like, man, they probably like some donuts right now.

I just pull over, grab donuts, drop ’em off for no reason. But that’s something I learned from him, just doing those things. That helped me. And then I just making that decision that I’m gonna live my life and push it as hard as I can. I want to, when I go, I wanna leave it on empty, but I wanna do that as if doing it for both of us.

Stack: Speaking of living in your life, we skipped over and I apologize. Yeah. Let’s talk about your

Jose: health scare. Oh yeah. I was actually, I was there that, this was after that. After that, we finally started getting back into the rhythm of things and I was at work and it was weird because I, it was just sudden, oh, I first, I went through the little streak where I got hurt a lot.

First thing was that I got I ended up having my knee, my right knee. I heard it got off the engine. I stepped into a pothole and it buckled and my knee got stuck. So they transported me. They did a bunch of rehab and they were like, you gotta get your knee better. So I was like, okay, did rehab came back?

And then after that I went to, I came back within two shifts. I, after coming back, I went to work out and I was with Lieutenant di Moore. We were upstairs and I had the machine and I had the whole stack and I was like, I bet you, I can, I could do a tricep extension with all this. He’s no, you can’t.

I was like, I bet you, I can. He’s no, you can’t. So I grabbed it and I did it. And when I did it, I felt a hernia pop. So it popped and I was like, oh snap. So I put my intestine come out. So the first thing I do, I try to push it in and I can’t. So I go to captain Erickson and I was like, my intestine’s out.

I think I got hernia. So he pushes it in and then he’s Jesus, you gotta go to the doctor again. So I go to the doctor, do my hernia. And then this was like November time. So December comes around, I start having I start waking up with some serious knee pain, my right knee and elbow pain. And most people don’t know about that, but I start having these pains and aches and I’m like, man.

So I start taking like ibuprofen two, three in the morning and I start time to get up at two in the morning just to put my shirt on. Cause I’m on day work at this time and I can’t move my arm. I feel like there’s glass in it. My knees are swollen and I start going to. To the station. And I started ask cuz thankfully I was at eight.

So I started making every excuse so that I don’t drive the engine because I couldn’t pull the levers. Cuz my joints were hurting that much. I could not pull ’em. So for months I was making it up. I was like, yeah, no, I just, I really wanna be in the back. Cause I knew I wasn’t gonna do anything, but EMS calls so suddenly at least you hope I hoped I prayed.

But I ended up going one day I got home after work and then I remember I got outta the shower and I was drying my head and I turned to the right and I looked and I had a giant lump on the side of my neck that I’d never seen before. It was just like really enlarged. And that’s when I got scared, I was like, man, I don’t know what that is.

So I started going to the doctors for a period of nine months and the doctors thought it was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma thought I had cancer. Fortunately, Marshall was there. This, when Marshall comes in, I remember I called Marshall and I was in the worst spot, man. I told him, I said, Hey, I don’t know what to do.

I know you’ve been through something like this. I need help, man. And cause I could have feel my body deteriorating every day, I’d go to the bathroom to urinate. And it was like a giant amount of foam coming out of the toilet. So I had a large amount of protein coming out. So he recommended I go to GW.

So I went and I got there. I left from eight. I got some leave, went over there. The doctor did a biopsy on my neck. She took a whole lymph node out. She took Salate lands my lips. She took blood. She, I mean she checked everything I left. She called me maybe three hours later. She said, you need to come back to my office.

I gotta give you medicine because you are a month away from being kidney failure. I was like, what? She was like, you’re gonna go into di you’re gonna be in dialysis if you don’t get to my office right now. So I remember I got in the car, didn’t even ask permission from anybody got in the car and I left, went over there and she said that for lupus.

Cause I got diagnosed with lupus SLE systemic and it’s an autoimmune disease. So they ended up there’s five markers. They look for, I had all five in the red, so I would make it a full house. They call it. So she said, it’s a full house. It’s a hundred percent it’s lupus. She’s you are really close to being in kidney failure.

They started me off on large amount of prednisone and all kinds of medication just to try to get my body back in order. But fortunately it worked. But in that timeframe, I got to learn so much. and the brotherhood that we have in this, cuz there was days that I was going to this oncologist, first of all, I didn’t know what an oncologist was.

So I showed up to this office, that’s in oncology and I am, I’ve never been so scared of my life. I didn’t want to go. So I told Marshall, Marshall took time from his family. He got in his car, drove down with me and that guy was there right there beside me. He was sitting down another one was kept. I was driving, they put me on light duty.

So they sent me to the academy and on my way there, I get a call from at that time I never really met him, but he was a Lieutenant. I think he was a Lieutenant at that time. Rob Moreau he calls me and he’s like giving me this whole, like this speech. And I’m like, man you’re right.

Like I could do it, I could do it. And he makes me feel great. And I’m like, man, this guy’s amazing. He’s taking the time out of his day to talk to. , I never really met him, but I’m like, he cares and he’s right here. I look on Facebook later that day, he was at the hospital going through his issue and getting a drain put in his neck.

I was like, this guy’s going through this, but he’s calling me to talk to me. I couldn’t believe it. There’s some people out there that are just incredible, and I got to experience that. And then I got diagnosed with that. That’s once I got diagnosed with that the thought was that I was gonna have to leave the department.

The doctor was like you won’t be able to be there very long cuz you have no immune system at this point.

Stack: You’re susceptible to

Jose: whatever disease is. She said, yeah, everything, anything that hits you a cold hits, she’s gonna knock you down. You’d be done. And you know what it was, I didn’t really believe it cuz there’s a 1% for everything.

So I asked her, I said, there’s 1% of the population that have this, that live a normal life. So what are they. So I started researching those people. I didn’t care about everybody else that had it. That was better bound. I didn’t wanna hear that. I wanted to, I was gonna write my own story. I didn’t want to hear somebody else’s.

So I just took after that took that same philosophy. And then, yeah, I never had any issues now. They, thankfully they dropped all my medications and there’s no trace of it now in my body, after a couple of tests now that I still don’t have anything there. So

Stack: throughout all of this, the Vegas experience to being down on your luck the thoughts of suicide the divorce working with Marcello, losing Marcelo to a suicide, your health scare, what are the things you’re doing to keep yourself above water?

And I, I don’t think we’ve ever talked about yet. I don’t think you’ve ever done therapy. No. So what did you do for yourself? What are the tools that you use for yourself?

Jose: The big things for me. I really, I think changed everything for me was the that it took the focus away from me, and I focus on, I took the focus and put it on somebody else.

So it was, for me, it was like, now okay, how do I help? How do I make a difference myself? And then once I started thinking of it like that, then I took a, took myself out of the picture and then just allowed myself to be more of a vessel or vehicle that could be used to make a difference for someone.

So for me, it was like, okay, I gotta figure out a way to help. So we all want to help. We all wanna, when we go to our job, we put uniform on and we do our best. We respond to these calls, do everything that we can. And we help the public. But at some point, nobody really helps us. So nobody really makes. makes that choice for us as well. And that’s what I wanted to do. It was like, I want to help. So I went and got my business license and I started, doing the, my real estate stuff and started helping there. So doing everything that I could, people buying house and I paid for their mortgage or their first mortgage payment or things like that.

It was really never I wasn’t looking to make a ton of money or do that. I just wanted to make a difference. But what that allowed me to do was allow me to focus more on what I needed to learn. And it took me away from that. Then the big thing is that allowed me to be thankful that I got through that.

And it allowed me to help and myself, my situation out of that whole, because it’s hard. It’s not an easy thing. I never I think we told you about this, but like a couple years later one of my other best friends, his name was Henry Andino. He was a Marine. The Marines as well from Honduras, he committed suicide as well, and that was something that I was able to handle a little bit easier because it happened once.

And it’s unfortunate to say that, but it makes the blow a little bit easier to absorb, same thing with him. He went through his situation, but is it easy as a whole to say, it’s not . We have to find a way to, I guess you cope with it, but you figure out a way to become, an asset for people around you and then it becomes easier for you to move forward.

I think

Stack: so. Pretty much you took care of yourself by giving

Jose: back. Yeah.

Stack: And I think one of the things you hear across the department is the positivity that you radiate when you’re in a in a station or you’re around people. I hear it all the time and I don’t know if you hear it, but. It is said about you.

I think there’s something to be said about that before we wrap up, you’ve got to tell the Lumina story because I’m not letting you get out without telling the story. I thought you were gonna forget. No, I did not forget. I talked about it at the station the other day. So you said this, you told them, oh yeah, we have a mutual friend that told the story oh really?

Oh yeah. Aaron Dillon . Oh God, he,

Jose: yeah. I told him about that cuz I couldn’t

Stack: understand what happened. Yeah. You’re gonna tell America now set it up for us and then tell us what happened because sit back and enjoy people. Yeah.

Jose: So when I got here from again, I’m from Las Vegas and so I, we only see dogs out there we don’t really see much.

So when I got here to Virginia, my Lumina didn’t have any AC didn’t have any heat. So I used to carry multiple shirts in there cause I would start sweating. So it was like summertime and. And I remember I got the opportunity to go. That was actually the fall because they called me about the academy and I wanted to get in.

So I wanted to go see where it was just to get motivated. So I remember I started driving down 2 34 and I started driving down Aiden road and I’m driving, listening to my radio and I could see on the side of the road, like an animal, but it looked again, I don’t know what it looks like, but it looked like a Panda, right?

So I was like, oh my God, there’s a Panda. So

Stack: a Panda in Virginia, keep it in mind. People keep it in mind. A Panda in Virginia.

Jose: Remember guys, I, three years I learned only English I didn’t learn where the, these animals grow. So I parked my Lumina next to this thing and I get out to go look at it. I’m like, it’s a freaking Panda.

So I get out and I walk up to it. So of course I got scared and it pissed all over my side of my car. So I start on, I start almost throwing up at the side of the road. I get in my car to get away from. And the smell comes in the car. I couldn’t drive my car for a couple days cause I just kept vomiting or gagging every time I would drive.

And then at that point I had a girlfriend, she got in the car. She’s what you do to your car? I was like, I thought it was a Panda, but I guess not, she’s like a Panda in Virginia.

Stack: So every time you see a skunk now think of Panda, same colors, not the same

Jose: animal. I thought it was a baby, but

Stack: all right.

So I always wrap up every show with where you are now. I’m obviously sitting in this beautiful home of yours. You’re newly married. Yes, sir. Your wife is in school to be a doctor, correct? She’ll be a

Jose: doctor. To be a neurosis. You’re

Stack: about to have some surgery tomorrow. Yeah.

Tomorrow. What else is going on?

Jose: So I’m just working on that. Right now, I’m doing a couple more things. I’m working on getting my license, finishing on my contractor, license my class, a just cause I want to be able to have the ability to, help more. So somebody says to wanna make more money, be able to do that way, provide more avenues.

So I’m doing that. And then I now have to actually find a place for my wife to go to school in Baltimore. So we’re looking at that right now.

Stack: His wife is by the way, smarter than the two of us with our

Jose: IQ combined. Yeah. I don’t even compete there’s yeah. There’s no, no shot that. I, you got a good shot. I no, sir.

I, I always use that for first three years of America. I didn’t know anything but English, , I still don’t know how to spell much,

Stack: I always end to it a couple of questions. The first one, because I based the show off of the things we all carry. And it’s funny, cuz I don’t know if everybody knows where the origin of that title came from.

There’s a book and it’s called The Things They Carried and it’s about, it’s a short story novel, based on people in Vietnam. Oh, and it was it talks about taking an M 16 or a 50 Cal or whatever you took into battle and it’s the same thing that we do. We take our certain things into battle, our battle being the EMS call or fire But when we do those traumatic calls, we bring something out with us and they stay with us for life. Yeah. And we just have to figure out how we deal with that. A lot of times we also have something we carry every day physically with us. So is there an everyday carry that you have

Jose: An item or things like that?

Yeah, whatever I do. So I wrote down in my, I have a little note that I laminated and I carry it with me and. it’s just basically something that says paraphrase it. I used to carry my goals around and things like that. But I just, it’s just, basically, it just says that on that notice doesn’t matter where I am.

I’m better than where I was. And so I put it that in my pocket. And so that’s what I carried around. So almost

Stack: a don’t compare yourself to yourself. You’re you right now, not who you were yeah. A year

Jose: ago.

Stack: One of the things that I know that you did talk about that you write things down, you’ve set goals, everything.

So explain some of those goal setting. Yeah. Because I think that’s a valuable tool that people need to pay attention

Jose: to. Yes. I was always told that if it gets, if it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get done. That’s what I was always told, and. Like an architect building a house, if you’re gonna go build a house, the architect first, gonna think about it. They’re gonna talk to you about ideas. Then they’re gonna do a blueprint, so they’re gonna write it down and then you go build it because you have a clear path to follow. So you have a clear path. So that makes it super, it makes it so much easier to do that.

If you have that, so I was always the type that I would say, I want to, I wanna accomplish this. I wanna accomplish that. I wanna do this. I wanna do that. The problem was that I just didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know how to do it. Cause I didn’t know where I was going, knowing where you’re going is the big part of this, right?

Because then you have the ability to take the first steps. So what I realized was that life will make room for those that know where they’re going, but you have to know where you want to go. And so I can say just from, I can’t speak for everybody, but for myself, somebody who came. Which was blessed enough and fortunate enough to come to this country and come here and just to be in a position where you can literally change your stars.

If you want to, you can do that. You can absolutely do that. You can go five years ago from running a room from one of the chiefs to living in a place where I got told, asked to leave from, you can do

Stack: it. I had to give my name and get through the gate to get in here. So yeah.

Jose: you could do it. But it was one of those things that I have my boards and I put my goals there. And then it just helps me focus on them. And then that helped us, helped me tremendously. Because if you ask me, what do you want to do in the next three years? I can tell you exactly where, right? And in the way of thinking of it like that, people might say that’s silly, cuz you don’t even know if you’re gonna be alive.

You don’t know. You’re right. You don’t know. when I always feel like when the end comes, you gotta make sure it catches you catching a mountain or climbing the mountain. Not sliding down an old one. Like they taught me. So for me, it’s yes, but because I’m doing it for not just for me, for somebody else too, I wanna make sure that I do my best.

So I give my, be myself the best opportunity do I plan it? I write everything down. I research it. And then I work like hell and I work and work. And that’s the only thing that works for me.

Stack: I can vouch for that. You helped me sell my house and you did a hell of a job, so I can vouch for your drive.

love that drive and I love that mindset. What’s a book that you would recommend somebody.

Jose: I’m glad you asked my the best book that I can say. And I’m honestly given over 101, but funny you say that, cuz I gotta hear for you. It’s funny you said that, but it’s called the richest man in Babylon.

The richest man in Babylon, it’s like 120 pages. It’s in story form. Harvard business uses that book as well. That book, I was told to read that when I was 20 years old, by a very successful person. And I can tell you that was the book I could pinpoint to that completely changed my life.

I think that in a situation that we are where we can always use a little more, we can always do a little better. I think that the information is crucial, and it doesn’t necessarily matter if we get a raise that gives us an extra $20,000. But if it’s not the amount itself, that’s the important part, right?

It’s what you do with it. It’s not that they say not how much you make, it’s how much you keep. And so just the information itself, the disciplines that you can create from something like that. I can’t explain it. But I can tell you that there’s a couple people in the department that I’ve given the books to that I’ve hand in hand, helped them like, Hey, I want you to do this and this.

And they will tell you, within two years, three years, they’re in a completely different place. So it has nothing to do. In my opinion, with luck’s just information, that book it’s probably the, I have that book. I order it. I’m gonna have an auto ship and I always stand, I will give it to somebody, that I care about somebody I care about.

I give ’em the book. It’s

Stack: Along the lines of the harder work, the luckier I get. Yes.

Jose: It’s a hundred percent that, but it’s just with finances. It’s not, it doesn’t need it. You don’t need to rub crystals, in, in a magical place to do well. It really isn’t. It’s just a matter of doing the same disciplines consistently, that’s it doesn’t necessarily have to be some magic potion, right?

Nothing like that. You just have to be consistent and then know the path again, writing it down. Where do you want to go? And then you’ll be able to get it.

Stack: That’s that’s great advice. I love it. That’s pretty. I wanna thank you, man. Thank you for opening your home to me. Let me come in and take over this room and have this conversation.

I think most people that know, you’re one of the most genuine people in the department. You’re. What was I gonna say? You’re one of those guys that always shows up with a smile, always shows up with some positivity and it’s appreciated. So thank you. So thank

Jose: you very much, sir. This is your room here and you ever need it?

Nah, we’re out.

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