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On Sept. 22, a year and a week after his surgery, he became a firefighter.

Since the surgery, Mr. Koukerjinian has lost 120 pounds. He maintains his new weight by going to the gym three times a week and riding his bike with his daughter, which he previously could not do.

“We can go for two to three miles, then she’ll get tired before me,” he said.

Mario Delgado, a friend and co-worker, said Mr. Koukerjinian was a fun companion before and after surgery.

“It didn’t alter his personality,” he said. “But it gave him a new focus on life, new goals and more energy to do things, such as volunteer.”

Last year, Mr. Koukerjinian completed a 5K Susan G. Komen walk for breast cancer research. In April, he will skydive to raise money for SOAR, Survivors of Abuse in Recovery, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping child victims of rape and abuse.

“Before when I got on a plane, that plane probably wouldn’t take off,” he said,

“But then I said, ‘Now, why not? I can do that.’ ”

Still, Mr. Koukerjinian said what makes him most happy is being an ambassador for weight-loss programs.

“My advice to anyone who is overweight: Don’t procrastinate like I did,” he said. “All people deserve another chance in life to feel good about themselves.”

He keeps his old driver’s license picture handy to prove to people how much weight he has lost.

“I cannot say it enough,” he said. “I’m grateful every single day. I’m very grateful.”