Israel was an amazing man, an awesome father, a wonderful husband, and a great son and brother. His family was his pride and joy. Israel knew at a very young age that he wanted to be of service to others. As a young boy, trying to help put out a small fire in his home in Puerto Rico, that was all the confirmation he needed that this is what he was born to do.
Israel loved helping people, regardless of what the need was. He served his community with pride and dignity, and his community loved him. Everyone cherishes all the laughs and lessons that he shared with them. His personality just pulled you towards him, and his laugh was infectious. I remember thinking that he could save a life with his smile. Israel had a heart of gold, and he didn’t like seeing injustice. He made sure to stand up for those who weren’t able to. He was their voice and their advocate. Many found their voice because of him.
On his time off he enjoyed being out on the open road riding his motorcycle. He was known as the fun uncle who enjoyed wrestling with all his nieces and nephews or just being at home enjoying quiet time. Israel was a man of many talents. He enjoyed playing his guitar. Music was one of his first loves, and he was an amazing self-taught musician. He was a wonderful leader and patient when working with others. When he wasn’t playing his guitar or out on the open road, you could find Israel fishing or camping. He enjoyed being in nature.
Israel began his journey with Passaic Fire Department in 2019. This was his ideal dream, and he was so excited. He continued to volunteer for CERT but couldn’t wait to continue being of service in this new place he was in life. He always put his uniform on with pride on the morning of his shifts and always left the house with a smile, ready for what the day would bring.
He and his brothers knew the sacrifice, but together they continued fighting in the midst of this pandemic. When answering a call, Israel was exposed to this deadly virus. He was a strong young man who fought. He was adventurous, and he loved life. He accomplished everything he said he wanted to do and, at the young age of 33, he left nothing undone. At times he didn’t realize the great power he possessed and how he touched so many lives. He was the light we all needed in our dark times.
His light will never be dimmed. His memory and his legacy will always be kept alive. He lives every day in his children, Ailani and Israel III. He lives in his brotherhood, the impact in his community, and in who I am as his wife. He is truly missed and will always be in our hearts.