Remembering David Prasifka: friend and hero



Members of the Jourdanton Volunteer Fire Department, from left, Fire Chief Jay Fojtik, Captain Amy Balderas, Firefighter Izzy Martinez, Captain Charlie Abshier and Captain Jeff Rankin salute as Hurley Funeral Home directors escort Atascosa County Emergency Management Coordinator and former Jourdanton Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Prasifka into the funeral home on Monday, July 6. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Members of the Jourdanton Volunteer Fire Department, from left, Fire Chief Jay Fojtik, Captain Amy Balderas, Firefighter Izzy Martinez, Captain Charlie Abshier and Captain Jeff Rankin salute as Hurley Funeral Home directors escort Atascosa County Emergency Management Coordinator and former Jourdanton Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Prasifka into the funeral home on Monday, July 6. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

After years of planning and keeping Atascosa County safe, the county will not have Emergency Management Coordinator David Prasifka at the helm.

Prasifka was receiving treatment after being diagnosed with Leukemia, but when he caught COVID-19, he lost the battle.

“One thing I’ll probably miss about my dad is the one-onones we would have. Me and him were almost the exact same person, he knew how to talk to me,” said son Michael Prasifka.

He said his dad always loved him and his son.

“One of the last conversations we had was about my son. It was his birthday and he found the time to get the fire departments and community people to have a parade for my son,” M. Prasifka said.

D. Prasifka didn’t have time because he was working seven days a week dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic that made its way to Atascosa County.

“Anytime I could find time to talk to my dad I would. I tried to cherish all the moments I had with my dad,” M. Prasifka said.

The Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Department arranged multiple units along IH-37 South to honor Atascosa County Emergency Management Coordinator David Prasikfa as various Atascosa County agencies escorted him back home on Monday afternoon. “When one fire family hurts, they all hurt,” said Jeff Rankin, JVFD Captain. ERIC KAISER | COURTESY PHOTO

The Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Department arranged multiple units along IH-37 South to honor Atascosa County Emergency Management Coordinator David Prasikfa as various Atascosa County agencies escorted him back home on Monday afternoon. “When one fire family hurts, they all hurt,” said Jeff Rankin, JVFD Captain. ERIC KAISER | COURTESY PHOTO

He said David just wanted to make sure Michael and his family were safe.

David was brought back to Atascosa County on Monday and an outpour of support from local firefighters and citizens welcomed him home.

“I knew my dad meant a lot to the community and I wasn’t expecting the turnout for his procession. It was a work day and to see all of the people show him love that meant a lot to my family,” M. Prasifka said.

“He was my big brother, we grew up together,” said brother Rusty Prasifka.

When Rusty went to college and came back to town, David had a son.

“I became his son Michael’s unofficial godfather. I took care of him sometimes,” R. Prasifka said.

Over the years both brothers focused on their families, but when they both ended up working at the county together they found each other again.

“We laughed, we joked. I was able to reconnect with him for the last three months,” R. Prasifka said. “I saw him every day, I am grateful for that.”

Jourdanton VFD Captain Charlie Abshier consoles fellow Captain Amy Balderas Monday afternoon after the processional. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Jourdanton VFD Captain Charlie Abshier consoles fellow Captain Amy Balderas Monday afternoon after the processional. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

His brother David might not admit it, but it was probably great for him too, said R. Prasifka.

Atascosa County Commissioner Mark Gillespie said he will miss his friend.

“We were friends for about 12 years, we built a great friendship. Anytime, we could call each other and pick on each other until we were blue in the face. He was an all around great guy,” Gillespie said.

He said Prasifka was like a brother and people couldn’t help but love him.

“He’s done a phenomenal job in the emergency management department. David kept quiet about his knowledge, but when he needed to be there he gave you his whole heart,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said Prasifka worked so hard for Atascosa County that he put himself in second place.

“He would call me a lot. He was so stressed out mentally. Physically, it wore on him. If I had any recommendation for anyone it would be don’t do that to yourself,” Gillespie said.

David Prasifka arrives in Pleasanton on Monday afternoon. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

David Prasifka arrives in Pleasanton on Monday afternoon. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Prasifka preached teamwork and the team lost a great teammate, Gillespie said.

Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley expressed that Prasifka will be sorely missed.

“The county has lost a valued asset and, as a county judge, I have lost a valued colleague who worked with me every day to fight against this pandemic,” Hurley said.

When the grieving begins to subside and the shock wears off, the county will begin procedures to try to fill the void left by Prasifka. In the meantime, Hurley, as the county judge, is the Constitutional Emergency Manager. He will work with his staff, EMS Director Don Penny and Information Technology Director Justin Vasquez to ensure all the EMC’s responsibilities are handled. He worked for San Miguel Electric Corporation for 31 years and after retiring from there he decided he wanted a new challenge and went to work for Atascosa County as the Emergency Management Coordinator.

Atascosa County Commissioner Stuart Knowlton said he appreciated Prasifka’s effort on keeping the county up-to-date on COVID-19.

David Prasifka’s family, Rusty Prasifka (brother), Donna Prasifka (wife), Ronni “Tutti” Prasifka (daughter-inlaw) and Michael Prasifka (son) wait outside Hurley Funeral Home on Monday. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

David Prasifka’s family, Rusty Prasifka (brother), Donna Prasifka (wife), Suzan Mahula and Derek Thompson (son-in-law) wait outside Hurley Funeral Home on Monday. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

He said he will be tough to replace.

Prasifka became a Jourdanton Volunteer Firefighter in 1988 and he dedicated over 25 years to the department.

“I’ve known David my whole life,” said Jeff Rankin.

He said Prasifka was always there for the fire department.

“The most memorable thing about Dave was our morning coffees. Several times a week, we would meet at his office on the front steps and have coffee together in the morning,” Rankin said.

Jourdanton Volunteer Fire Department Captain Amy Balderas said when she first joined the fire department and met David he was a great mentor and good friend.

“He was definitely a great chief. David taught me a lot about firefighting and I wouldn’t be the firefighter I am today if it wasn’t for David. He was our fire family,” Balderas said.

She said he will truly be missed by everyone that he has touched.

Multiple police and fire department agencies from Atascosa County came out to escort and welcome David Prasifka home at Hurley Funeral Home on Monday afternoon. Agencies included Atascosa County Fire Marshal’s Office, Atacosa Co. Sheriff’s Office, Jourdanton VFD and PD, Pleasanton FD and PD, Poteet VFD and PD, Charlotte VFD, Lytle VFD, Leming VFD, Campbellton/Paisano VFD, Christine VFD, Rossville VFD and many more. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Multiple police and fire department agencies from Atascosa County came out to escort and welcome David Prasifka home at Hurley Funeral Home on Monday afternoon. Agencies included Atascosa County Fire Marshal’s Office, Atacosa Co. Sheriff’s Office, Jourdanton VFD and PD, Pleasanton FD and PD, Poteet VFD and PD, Charlotte VFD, Lytle VFD, Leming VFD, Campbellton/Paisano VFD, Christine VFD, Rossville VFD and many more. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

“I am still in disbelief. I can’t believe that he is gone, but his memory will live forever in our hearts,” Balderas said.

Jourdanton Mayor Robert “Doc” Williams spoke about Prasifka’s character and personality as one of humility.

“He was a gentleman who never sought the limelight. He only did his job. He was always behind the scenes and never asked for publicity, but just sought to get the job done. He reached a lot of people. He was a great friend to me and a great friend to all. He will be greatly missed,” said Williams.

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