Alumni Appreciation Night, February 2014.
Joe Garces (‘98, Elementary Education) is a professional firefighter for the Oxnard City Fire Department in southern California and published his first children’s book, Garrett the Firefighter, in October 2008.
Following his graduation from Southern Utah University, Joe spent five years teaching elementary school and high school English. He became a fulltime firefighter in 2002 and describes this career change as a huge transition. The job of teaching a class of 36 children and the responsibility of saving peoples lives are both great, but vastly different from one another.
While Joe has always loved to write and has written his entire life, it never crossed his mind to write a children’s book. The idea behind Garrett the Firefighter came from a song Joe would sing to his son Garrett before putting him to bed. One night while at the fire station and wishing he could be singing to his little boy, he came up with the idea to write a story that went along with his song. He got out of bed, turned on the computer and wrote Garrett the Firefighter. Four years later, in October 2008 the book was published and is currently being sold in 24 states and nine countries throughout the world.
He recently completed a second book that is scheduled for release in December 2009. It is entitled Tyler the Cowpoke and was written for his middle son Tyler.
Joe has many fond memories of SUU. His most memorable was during his first Welcome Back Week when he attended a comedy show in the Adams Memorial Theater that featured a hypnotist. He remembers the night being crisp and cool, laughing with complete strangers and knowing that he had chosen the right school.
Joe resides in southern California with his wonderful wife Taira, and their three boys Garrett, Tyler and Ryan.