Santa Barbara County Fire Department firefighter paramedic Joseph “Joey” De Anda died at the age of 33 on Saturday, Jan. 8. Now, community members with roots across the Central Coast are coming together to memorialize De Anda and his impact. 

The Cal Poly journalism alum succumbed to injuries while snowboarding in China Peak, Calif. with friends. 

“Joey will be remembered for his positive attitude and hard work ethic,” Santa Barbara County Fire Department said in an Instagram post. “Joey made lasting relationships with everyone he came in contact with.”

Before working as a full-time firefighter paramedic, De Anda was the news editor at Cuesta College’s student-run newspaper, the Cuestonian, according to his Twitter account.

At Cuesta College, De Anda also worked alongside Heather Tucker as a Paramedic Program teaching assistant and a Paramedic Preceptor in the field for interns. Tucker is the head faculty member for Cuesta’s EMT program and said she loved running calls with De Anda.

“Joey was truly an amazing person who sure packed in a lot of love and service in the years he blessed us with his life,” Tucker wrote to Mustang News. “He was someone who got to know everyone he met and was so genuine.”

Headstrong, a local gym that De Anda often visited, hosted a memorial workout at 9 a.m. and a barbeque at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15.

Dan Lambert | Mustang News

All food and other barbeque essentials were donated by local businesses and restaurants, like California Fresh Market and F. McLintocks Saloon and Dining House. They also hosted a raffle with all proceeds going to the De Anda family. 

“If anyone knew Joey, or even if you just met him, he was the kind of guy that automatically made you feel like you have been best friends for years,” Headstrong Fit said in an Instagram post. “His smile was seriously contagious, his heart was always full, and you just couldn’t help but want to give the guy a big hug.” 

Gym owner Robby Mclaughlin told Mustang News De Anda was a part of the Headstrong Fit community and attended many of the classes and group training offered. 

“It’s pretty awesome to see all the people here,” McLaughlin said at the memorial barbeque. “I think we’ve raised a lot of money for the family.”

De Anda’s memorial service is being held Friday, Jan. 21. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event is limited to family and close friends.

To pay tribute to De Anda, a Celebration of Life is being held at 8 p.m. Friday at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

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