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Family mourns man who died saving co-worker from Arizona flood

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 3:38 AM MST
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GILA BEND, Ariz. (KPHO/KTVK) - A community outside Phoenix is reeling from deadly flash floods. One man lost his life while saving another person.

Those who knew Jesus Perez from work, church or the neighborhood always called him Pancho.

“Even to the grocery store. They’d be like, ‘Hey, Pancho!’ And they would talk there for hours,” said Amairini Echeverria, his daughter.

The dairyman of more than 25 years never made it to work on Saturday because he was helping someone else.

The flash floods caught a woman in her car who had no way out.

As she frantically called people for help, the only person who answered her call was her co-worker Pancho.

“My dad was that type of guy - ‘You need help? I’m gonna help you.’ And that’s what dad did,” Echeverria said.

“I can picture it: She said, ‘Help me!’ and he helped her without thinking about it. That’s him. ‘I’m going to help without a second thought.” said Suhail Perez, his wife, via a translation.

Though he got her to the safety of the car’s roof, the next big wall of water carried him away.

“The Lord alone is giving us the strength that we have. There are no words - no words - to comfort this loss. No words, ”said Suhail Perez, via a translation.

As his wife and three daughters plan his funeral at the family’s Buckeye church, they remember how he always did what was right and he put himself last even in his final moments.

“Knowing how my dad was, if he would have never helped this person get out of the wash, he wouldn’t have been able to live with that,” Echeverria said.

“He was love. My husband was love. And he was available whenever you needed him,” Suhail Perez said.

Her husband of 28 years is in her heart - the hero she already knew he was.

Pancho’s funeral is set for Friday, just six days before what would have been his 46th birthday.

Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.