LA QUINTA, Calif. - Mecca-native Garret Angel Paiz was was with the Noel Fire Department in Missouri for about a year before he passed while battling a Northern California fire last Monday.
His former co-workers from the Noel Fire station couldn't afford to travel to Palm Springs for his funeral but were doing everything could to attend.
On Friday, the California Vacation Villas, a La Quinta rental business, got an email from the Auxiliary President of the Noel department asking for help.
"I have 8 firefighters headed to your area for the funeral services for our fallen firefighter. I've checked the cost of hotels in the area and they are way beyond our ability. Would it be possible to rent your townhouse for this purpose? The funeral will be held in Indio, Ca. Is that fairly close? Any help is greatly appreciated." - Email sent by the Noels Fire Department
"That got me and I had to do something about it," said Joy Lyons, reservation specialist for the company.
Lyons said Paiz's fellow Noel Firefighters asked the mayor of Noel for financial help but were denied funds. Next, they looked to the community for help, eventually, they were able to raise enough money to cover flights. Paiz's hometown covered the rest.
"It just brought tears to my eyes, even when I read the first request, Lyons said. "They're trying to get their firefighters out here. They got the airfare and the mayor refusing to do anything, the whole town of Noel did a great job in getting the airfare, so I felt like if there was anything I can do, I'm going to try."
California Vacation Villas is paying for their stay in Palm Desert (not including cleaning fees).
Paiz's funeral is set for Friday, October 27, at Destiny Church in Indio 10 am. You can live stream the service here.