Grand Marshal of this year’s Woodlake Lions Rodeo is a familiar face, Woodlake Fire Chief, José Perez, a.k.a., “Chief.” As a member of the Woodlake Lions Club for more than a quarter century, (still young at heart), José has served in all offices – president, vice president, etc. When we say all offices we mean all, he has even covered the title as cook and dish washer. One of José’s favorite pastime is cooking, if he’s not working you can usually find him at home barbecuing with his family.
Our Grand Marshal and wife Charlotte have been married for 47 years and are proud parents and grandparents. The two met in Woodlake in the early 60s and have had wonderful memories ever since. José enjoys spending time at home using his carpentry and welding skills working on projects or, “making as much noise as possible,” says his wife Charlotte.
José Perez stays very busy and enjoys helping the community any way he can. José is the chairman of the City of Woodlake planning commission for which he’s been a member for the past five years. José has served on the Tulare County Child Care Center board, locally and county wide. One of José’s extracurricular activities was managing a local soccer team, which he enjoyed for many years. In 2001, he was the recipient of the Man of the Year Award from the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce.
José began his career in the fire service when he was 30 years old, while starting out as a volunteer fire fighter and working his way up the ranks to Fire Chief. Since becoming Fire Chief for the Woodlake Fire District, Chief Perez has guided the department through many changes. Under his direction, the department has undergone a major transformation to meet the growing needs of the community and the fire district. The department continues to evolve and is currently going through a strategic planning process with full involvement from all his staff.
Chief Perez’ focus on safety for all personnel has resulted in the purchase of new personnel protective equipment for the entire department. The Fire Chief initiated the inclusion of a new parking garage which was in dire need to house fire apparatuses and increase safety. Although Chief Perez has more than 30 years of experience in the fire service, he has not rested on his laurels. He can often be found responding to fire calls in the middle of the night and still possesses the enthusiasm and drive serving the community of Woodlake.