Copperas Cove firefighter remembered with foundation, celebration
By LYNETTE SOWELL
One year ago, the family of Jose’ Negrete, a Copperas Cove firefighter/paramedic who had battled lymphoma, was laying him to rest.
Now, one year later, his family is preparing to celebrate his life again with the launching of the Negrete Firefighter Foundation, Inc.
Negrete, just 30 years old at the time he passed away, was known as “Joe-Joe” to his family and friends. Joe-Joe was a firefighter and paramedic for the city of Copperas Cove, and becoming a firefighter was a lifelong dream that became a reality. He served for approximately four years before passing away.
His mother, Maria, has been spearheading the effort to form the foundation that will serve as a legacy to her son.
“I didn’t want my son’s death to define him. To me, he was more than that. He was such a passionate and loving person, that I couldn’t see that was it. So, this was something acted upon and we started. We went through the state of Texas, got our nonprofit, and now we have our event coming up,” Maria said. “We’ve had a lot of businesses helping us, and we are so grateful to them.”
She said that economically, not everyone has the $4,000-$5,000 to pay for the fire academy, and that when Joe-Joe attended, they were able to put it on a credit card to get it done.
“But, I don’t know how many kids have that support. We are trying to reach kids who have the passion for this, for someone who will be productive and continue in this service,” Maria said.
She reflected on the show of support from fire departments throughout Central Texas, who came to participate in the procession honoring Joe-Joe after his funeral service.
“We had departments all the way from Marble Falls, past Temple, close to Waco, so it seems fitting that we offer it to them,” Maria said of creating the foundation to help young would-be firefighters.
The Negrete Firefighter Foundation’s fundraiser is on Saturday, Aug. 21, at Camp Caylor from 6-11 p.m. There is an entrance fee of $5 per carload or $1 for walk-ins. Camp Caylor is located at 146 County Road 4814 in Copperas Cove.
Over the summer, the foundation has been reaching out to local businesses, many of which have come on board to donate items for the silent auction that evening. Among the items are tools, grills, an Instant Pot, coolers, a Moosoo robot vacuum, Google Chromecast, gift certificates to local restaurants, gyms, martial arts lessons, handmade items, a firepit, car care items, jewelry from Bill French Jewelers, a turkey fryer, gift baskets, and more. Winners for the silent auction items need not be present to win.
There is also a raffle for a DuroMax 10500-watt gasoline/propane portable generator, with tickets available now for $40 each. Winners need not be present to win. Additionally, there is a raffle for a rifle, with tickets available for $20 each.
In addition to the silent auction, there will be food trucks and live entertainment, to include a salute to Joe-Joe’s heritage from Mariachi de Hoy, performing from 6:30-7:30 p.m., and Tierra Mestiza Ballet Folklorico performing from 8-8:30 p.m. The Central Texas Bellydance Association will also be performing.
After the event, how many young men and women will benefit from the foundation depends on how much is raised.
“We’re aiming for a successful event. It symbolizes who we’re trying to impact and reach. The young firefighter who’s willing to do service in the community…it’s scary, it’s exciting. I want some kind of legacy for my son,” Maria said.
For more information about the event, contact the Negrete Firefighter Foundation at (254) 394-4313.