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Monday, July 1, 2013


When a small town, my home town, loses 19 men, it can not be the same.  And even though I don't live there any more, my town is reeling.

A Prescott sunset
I am the daughter of a Prescott firefighter.  I spent many o' Thanksgiving dinners in the engine room with other families.  Many Christmas mornings visiting my papa at the fire station.  I rode on the fire trucks and was always overwhelmingly proud to be a part of this extended family.  When I was 18 years old, I got in a car accident.  I clearly remember the firefighter that first arrived at the scene, was comforted that I knew him, and gladly buried my head in his shoulder and cried right there in the middle of the street.  It is a family.

4th of July is huge in Prescott, Arizona, my home town.  It is a annual celebration and a unification of a community that is amazingly proud of their town.  It will be different this year, with tears, hugs, sorrow and remembering these men.  I was afraid to hear the list of names when it finally came out.  I didn't know any of the men personally, but I did know a family who knew someone or a friend once removed for many of those names.  In a small town we all know someone that way.

The job of a hot shot is hard. It is dirty, filthy, back-breaking, manual labor all done in excruciating heat.  It takes strength and stamina and is far from glamorous.  It is digging and hauling, hiking long distances carrying huge loads, clearing brush and digging fire lines for days on end.  Sleeping on the ground.  Hot shots have to be incredibly fit and mentally tough.  The average age of the men that were lost was 22 years old.  Young men are the ones to do this type of work: young men with wives and girlfriends and children, those just barely old enought to move out of their parent's home.  And they did this work.  For us.  These 19 that went towards the fire when everyone else ran the opposite direction... and never came out.  They paid the ultimate price.  Hot shots die.  Firemen die.  That is the risk they knowingly take.  But they don't die in this quantity.  19 is an unfathomable number of men to lose.

If you'd consider giving a donation please go here.  For their families.  100% of the donations collected here go to the families.  Do it for those who do it every single day to protect us and our property.  It is all together appropriate that we give a tiny bit back to those who gave the ultimate to us.

There are men and women that put their lives on the line every single day, so that you and I can have our celebrations and peace and freedom and our safety.  They cannot hold their loved ones close so that we can.  My tears and my prayers are for the families left behind.  The wives.  The girlfriends.  The babies not yet born.  The children who may even not be old enough to remember Daddy.  The mothers and the fathers... that now say goodbye forever to a father, son, husband and friend.
Thank you so much for giving the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be safe.

ps--In the light of this loss of life, my cousin likely lost her home to the same fire.  They won't let her back in yet to check, but it doesn't sound good.  Compared to death, it's no big deal.   Yet it is a huge big deal.

pps--Amazingly my cousin's house survived when her neighbor's houses did not.  My brother's brother-in-law (if you can follow that) was one of the 19.


  1. I wondered if you were near the fires. So sorry to hear that you were and to have 19 young men killed while trying to protect tragic. Thoughts and prayers with you all.

  2. Nancy - oh I get this - cops and firefighters - we may have a "rivalry" in the world - claim to not "understand the other one" - make jokes about which one is crazier to do what it is they do - but there's not one that wouldn't crawl on broken glass to get to another in a time of need - and we share that commonality - the one where you do the right thing no matter what it takes - go into the face of fear...

    The loss is beyond words - "hero" is a weak word - but today I share your pain...

    prayers for those men - their loved ones - your family - and all the rest of the families who today might just hug a little tighter or a little longer the ones who are leaving to go "on watch"...

    aus and co.

  3. Oh Nancy. This just breaks my heart. It did even before I knew it was your hometown. Now, it hurts more. I'm so very sorry for your loss and all those who lost someone or something too. Prayers and hugs, my friend.

  4. I saw this yesterday on the evening news and could not fathom such a tragic event. I was literally speechless. I know just a little over a month ago, 3 firefighters were lost battling a fire. I THANK GOD for our first responders. I myself, being a mother of a first responder, I admire such brave men and women, who are selfless, and put their own lives on the line save the lives of others. I lift these 19 BRAVE MEN and their families in my prayers. I pray for this community also...for they have suffered a great loss as well.

  5. Truly heartbreaking. My thoughts go out to your family and your hometown. Heroes, rest in peace.

  6. The loss of these special Firefighters is so sad. Having also been raised in a firefighter family, I cannot imagine the pain your hometown and the fire service there is feeling. I'm sure they were each doing what they loved to do, it is certainly a different type of firefighter that has that calling to be a Hot Shot. All our thoughts & prayers to your family & hometown.


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