June 30, 2013 was a day filled with heroism. Nearly 200 firefighters from across the nation battled a raging fire in the city of Yarnell, Arizona. Elite, multi-skilled teams of firefighters called “hotshots,” were strategically battling the fire. Prescott’s own, Granite Mountain Hotshots, were one of the crews working diligently to protect the surrounding Yarnell community from the rapidly spreading fire.
No one could’ve ever have imagined the tragedy that would occur that day when 19 of the 20 Granite Mountain Hotshots found themselves trapped by the fire after winds had shifted direction. They immediately deployed their survival shelters, but gave their lives on the mountain that Sunday afternoon. One surviving member, Brendan McDonough, survived after he had been assigned to be the lookout for the crew and was not in the immediate area with his team.
photo courtesy of Charles Sharp, a Hotshot Firefighter
As a group of first responders, this tragedy struck to our core. We immediately felt a deep sense of loss for our brothers and wanted to come up with a way to thank them for who they were, the brave lives they lived, and the sacrifices they made protecting others and their communities. The publicity will fade while the families try to cope with the loss of these heroes. We want their legacy to continue and the brave men to be remembered as Fathers, Husbands, Brothers, and Sons who loved their families and whose heroic bravery was extraordinary.
Beginning today, we’re asking for your help. We are asking people to write letters to the families, to the survivor Brendan McDonough, as well as the men who gave their lives; leaving memoirs for the loved ones to reflect upon lives lived in sacrifice of others. We ask that you keep the letters 500 words or less due to the potential volume of letters the families could be receiving. We’ve included a sample letter of our own:
Dear Mrs. Steed & Children,
We would like to take this time to send our sincerest condolences for the loss of your Husband and Father. We can’t imagine how difficult this time is for each one of you. We thank you for your loving support of Jesse as a Granite Mountain Hotshot as well as your personal sacrifices, for it is the loving family whose support propels the success of such a hero. We are thankful for his service as a United States Marine, we are proud to stand up in remembrance of a great American Hero who consistently made sacrifices for the safety of others. We’ve included a personal salute to Jesse below.
Dear Captain Steed,
Thank you, brother, for the sacrifice you made protecting the lives and homes of many. We are forever grateful for the commitment you gave to your family as a Husband and Father, to your community as a Granite Mountain Hotshot, and to your Nation as a US Marine. We’ll forever remember what you have done. Rest in peace Captain.
Reach Out Worldwide
A disaster relief team of Firefighters, EMT’s, Doctors, Nurses, and support staff.
For detailed backgrounds of each of the 20 Granite Mountain Hotshots, you can view them through the following link: http://www.heavy.com/news/2013/07/granite-mountain-hotshot-names-firefighters-died-yarnell/