Firefighter Joseph Garces was at home on a day off, checking in on Facebook when he saw a post about a young boy who was lost. Garces knew the area where the boy was last seen, being not far from where he lives, and jumped at the chance to join in the search.
The house where the boy was staying borders an area with brush and steep paths through canyons. It was an extremely hot day and the boy had no protection from the elements or water to drink, so everyone was anxious to find him quickly.
When Garces got on the scene he used his instincts to lead him in the direction of where he thought the boy would go. He soon spotted the boy at the bottom of the path, seeking refuge from the sun under some bushes. The four-year-old was anxious to be found and happy to be carried out.
Garces gave credit to his ability to think like a kid. As a father of three sons, a school teacher and children's book author, he has vast experience connecting with children.
His skills and knowledge are so much in demand, he recently added another line item to his resume. He's also the first public safety officer charged with teaching children what to do in an emergency, including how to "stop, drop and roll," if ever caught in a fire.
Garces also lends his time and know-how to local businesses, organizations and institutions, helping them develop safety plans. In his spare time, of course.
Do you know someone who works hard to keep the community safe and sound? Thank a firefighter, police officer, solider or social worker for what they do to make a difference in your community. Then, nominate them for next week's AmericanTown's Heroes.