Garrett Angel “Taco” Paiz was born on June 1, 1979, to Judi and Armando Paiz, in Indio, California, and has a brother, Carlos, and a sister, Cinthia. Garrett was 100% Native American–¾ Apache and ¼ Yaqui. He passed away on October 16, 2017, in a water tender truck accident on the Oakville Grade in Oakville, California, while fighting the Nuns Fire.
At age eight, Garrett began his passion for Civil War re-enactments. He wasn’t allowed to shoot until he was 14, but he did travel to every shoot and Nationals to meet up with God parents, Bess and Bobby Riggs; God brother, Patrick Morgan; and God sisters, Shannon Stevens and Erin Loftin. At age 14, he joined 1st Texas Infantry and was on the musket and carbine teams, along with Battery B Cannon team 4th US Artillery, until about age 30.
In 1997, he graduated from Coachella Valley High School in California, where he was involved in the FFA program. He had a Grand Champion Charolais Steer, a Grand Champion Black Angus Steer, and some pigs that were reserve Grand Champions in his junior and senior years.
Garrett had a love for horses. Pepper, Dude, and Ziggy were his favorite and best quarter horses. He roped a little and helped on some farms working cattle in Arkansas.
He was an OSU and Pittsburg Penguins fan.
On October 17, 2000, his daughter, Terri Ann Paiz, was born.
At the end of 2009, he began a truck driving career and soon started his own trucking company. Native Express Trucking was something he took great pride in. On August 26, 2011, he met his wife, Bobbie Dea Paiz, at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa. They were married on January 9, 2016, and he gained a stepdaughter, Bridget Black, and stepsons, Brian and Brandon Loehn. Before long, Garrett and Bobbie began team driving.
Garrett had been a volunteer firefighter (structure and wildland) in California and Arkansas, and firefighting was his ultimate passion. When 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots lost their lives on June 30, 2013, it pushed him to follow his lifelong dream of being a firefighter. He joined the Greenfield R-IV Rural Volunteer Fire Department in Greenfield, Missouri, and by the 2015 fire season he was ready. He went to Oregon to fight wildland fires in 2015 and continued traveling each year to do so. In 2016, Garrett and Bobbie moved to Noel, Missouri, where they joined the City of Noel Volunteer Fire Department as firefighters and first responders.
Garrett was a spirited man who had a knack for making everyone laugh no matter the situation and will be sorely missed.