Kevin Patrick Pryor was born on December 4‚ 1976‚ in Oak Park‚ California. Early in his high school years‚ he displayed a desire to become a firefighter. In 1994‚ he became a volunteer for the Ventura County Fire Department. Two years later‚ Kevin left Southern California for Butte Community College and Fire Academy. He was hired by C.D.F. in 1996‚ and worked on wildland fires all over Northern California and Oregon. In 1999‚ Kevin was hired by Pismo Beach Fire Department‚ where he was named ‘Rookie of the Year’ and 2002 ‘Fireman of the Year.’ While at Pismo Beach‚ Kevin attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and earned his bachelor’s degree in history. In 2003‚ Pismo Beach was taken over by Cal Fire‚ and Kevin transferred to Riverside County. That same year‚ he was named valedictorian of his academy class.
In 2005‚ Kevin joined the Newport Beach Fire Department. Due to his wildland fire experiences‚ he was placed on their strike team. He later taught CERT classes. In spring of 2008‚ over 200 wildland fires consumed Northern California. As a member of the strike team‚ Kevin traveled with his team to Butte County. His brother firefighters recalled that Kevin was all smiles‚ as he was ‘home again‚’ right where he began his career 12 years earlier. He was able to renew old friendships with both firefighters and supervisors. After five days on the line‚ his squad was relieved‚ and Kevin drove them home. A few hours later‚ he suffered a massive hemorrhage and went into a coma. He died the following day‚ June 17‚ 2008‚ at the age of 31. His fellow firefighters recalled his great sense of humor and his hilarious impressions of fellow coworkers.
Kevin was intelligent‚ loved history and knew every movie quote. He loved the outdoors‚ hiking‚ fishing‚ and camping in remote locations‚ as well as the beach with his older brother‚ Eric. He recently completed a triathlon in Paso Robles‚ climbed Mt. Whitney for the second time‚ and scaled Mt. Talac in Lake Tahoe.
BUT‚ Kevin Pryor lives on. Following his passing‚ in the ultimate act of compassion‚ Kevin saved seven lives as an organ donor. With the approval of his family‚ Kevin’s heart‚ liver‚ pancreas‚ both kidneys‚ and both lungs were donated to seven people desperately in need of life-saving organs. Kevin’s corneas‚ as well as other tissues‚ were also harvested to help others.
Kevin’s two nieces‚ Delaney‚ age 5‚ and Avery‚ age 3‚ said‚ ‘Uncle Chi-Chi is in Heaven‚ at God’s house‚ helping Him. That’s why there are no fires in Heaven.’