Kevin Patrick Pryor was a history buff and knew every movie quote. He loved the outdoors, hiking, fishing, and camping in remote locations or on the beach with his older brother, Eric. Early in 2008, he completed a triathlon in Paso Robles, CA; climbed Mt. Whitney for the second time; and scaled Mt. Talac in Lake Tahoe.
Early in his high school years, Kevin decided to become a firefighter. In 1994, he became a volunteer for the Ventura County Fire Department. Two years later, Kevin left Southern California for Butte Community College and Fire Academy in Northern California. By 1996, he was working on wild land fires all over Northern California and Oregon.
In 1999, Kevin was hired by the Pismo Beach Fire Department. A year later, he was named “Rookie Firefighter of the Year,” and in 2002 he was named “Firefighter of the Year.” While at Pismo Beach, Kevin attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and earned a B.A. in history. In 2003, Kevin transferred to the Riverside County campus and was named valedictorian of his graduating class.
Two years later, Kevin joined the Newport Beach Fire Dept. Due to his experience with wild land fires, Kevin was selected to be a member of the department’s Strike Team. In spring 2008, more than 200 wild land fires consumed Northern California. As a member of the Strike Team, Kevin traveled with his team to Butte County, as directed. His fellow firefighters recalled that Kevin was all smiles, as he was ‘home again’ in the place where he began his career 12 years earlier. He was able to reconnect with old friends and supervisors. After five days on the line, his squad was relieved and Kevin drove them home. A few hours later, Kevin suffered a massive hemorrhage and slipped into a coma. He died the following day, on June 17, at the age of 31.
Kevin’s fellow firefighters like to recall his great sense of humor and hilarious impressions of fellow co-workers. But Kevin Pryor lives on in more than just memories. Following his passing, in the ultimate act of compassion, Kevin saved seven lives as an organ donor. With the approval of his family, Kevin’s heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and lungs were donated to seven people desperately in need of live-saving transplants. Kevin’s corneas and other tissues were recovered to help others. His family grieves his passing but has participated in the Donate Life Run/Walk to help others understand the importance of donation.