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Family, friends pay tribute to Santa Barbara County firefighter-paramedic killed in a skiing accident

Final farewell for SBC firefighter-paramedic killed in a skiing accident
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Posted at 6:26 PM, Jan 21, 2022

Joey De Anda’s colleagues and family members held a series of services in Santa Maria to honor the legacy of the first responder.

Firefighters marched at the Santa Maria Cemetery holding onto their fallen brother.

“The community really lost a pillar today,” said Chief Mark Hartwig, Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

De Anda began his career in emergency medical care as a paramedic for AMR in 2007.

Later, he became a public safety dispatcher and flight paramedic.

Most recently, De Anda worked as a firefighter paramedic for Santa Barbara County Fire.

“Joey will be remembered for his determination, smile, positive attitude, and unforgettable laugh,” said one of his colleagues. “He was a rare individual who made a difference in the life of others, literally saving countless lives.”

De Anda died in a skiing accident at China Peak Mountain Resort on Jan. 8, 2022.

“He's a kid to me but in his short 33 years, he touched so many lives,” added Chief Hartwig.

Fire crews gave the family two folded flags and two helmets.

Friends and family members held another service at Pacific Christian Center to honor De Anda’s legacy.

“He saw the potential in me that I didn’t see at the time,” said Jesse DeBone, De Anda’s younger brother. “He always encouraged me, lifted me up when I needed it. He was just always there.”

De Anda will be remembered for his unforgettable smile.

“I will forever miss his smile. Since the day he was born, even before that, he was special,” said Anita Debone, De Anda’s mother.

Those who knew him said his caring heart made him unique.

“He was also called Pastor Joey. Doesn't fit? A pastor, a shepherd, one that takes care of, heals. He was truly a shepherd,” added Jerry Gray, Santa Barbara County Fire’s Chaplain.

Services for Joey De Anda wrapped up at the Santa Maria Fairpark with a celebration of his life.

De Anda’s family repeatedly thanked the community for their outpouring of support during these difficult moments.