Firefighters held a surprise retirement party for Colorado Springs Lieutenant

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COLORADO SPRINGS — A southern Colorado firefighter is calling it quits after 26 years as he heads off into retirement. But instead of an elaborate ceremony, fellow firefighters had to improvise to help honor his service.

Dozens of firefighters gathered Wednesday afternoon (at a distance) to celebrate one of their own.

Jose Garcia has served his community as a firefighter, paramedic, and lieutenant. People say he lead by example.

Since COVID-19 has put a stop to a lot of celebrations, Lt. Jose Garcia thought he was going to slide away without all the pomp and circumstance but his crew made sure he got a proper send-off.

It just looked a little different.

“We figured what else can we do to say good-bye and to say thank you for his service to the community,” said fellow firefighter Nick Chapel. “It’s kind of the least they can do, to take a couple hours out of their day to come down here and honor someone who gave so much.”

A surprise retirement parade at his home. More than 50 cars making all this noise for someone who wanted a simple send off.

“Jose was the kind of leader that, it wasn’t about him. He kind of always supported his guys and his people to be the best that they can be. He was that leader that showed up every day with a smile on his face,” Chapel said.

The humblest of heros giving credit to his crew.

“I don’t deserve any of this,” said Lt. Garcia. “It’s a hell of an honor, they do it day in and day out, and they do it with a high level of proficiency. You couldn’t ask for anybody better to respond to your family.”

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