Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park project gets big donation from APS

(R to L) Steve Quinn, APS’ Prescott Division Manager presented a check for $229,000, the amount needed to finish the memorial park, to State Parks Executive Director Sue Black and Jim Buster, president of the Arizona State Parks Foundation on Wednesday, June 22.

Photo by Scott Orr.

(R to L) Steve Quinn, APS’ Prescott Division Manager presented a check for $229,000, the amount needed to finish the memorial park, to State Parks Executive Director Sue Black and Jim Buster, president of the Arizona State Parks Foundation on Wednesday, June 22.

PRESCOTT – Work has been progressing steadily on the Yarnell park dedicated to the memory of 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots, and after a $229,000 donation presented Wednesday, June 22, the project should have enough money to be completed.

The 19 members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew were killed June 30, 2013, when a fire overran the area on Yarnell Hill in which they were taking cover in fire shelters. Only one member of the crew, Brandon McDonough, survived, because he had been stationed at a remote location.

The donation came during the regular meeting of the Yarnell Hill Memorial Site Board.

Project manager Skip Varney gave a Powerpoint presentation showing what has been accomplished at the site so far. A good deal of work has been done, but, he said, the remaining tasks, to be completed in the fall, are expected to cost $229,000.

After Varney’s presentation, APS’ Senior Vice-President of Transmission, Distribution and Customer Service, Dan Froecher spoke, saying that, “You might ask why APS feels such a connection, if you will, to the Yarnell Hill event … in our business, we are first responders on significant community events.

“We work hand-in-hand with our colleagues in the firefighting community,” Froecher said. “There aren’t any words to convey the level of respect and appreciation we have for first responders … today we are humbled.”

Steve Quinn, APS’ Prescott Division Manager handed the check to Jim Buster, president of the Arizona State Parks Foundation and State Parks Executive Director Sue Black. She said the donation would “take us to that finish line.”

“I’m really grateful,” Amanda Marsh, widow of Hotshot Eric Marsh, said. “It brings tears to my eyes that people care so much.”

The mother of Hotshot Andrew Ashcraft, Deborah Pfingston, said, “I was honored – no, humbled by the gift from APS.”

Tearing up, she took off her white wristband that read, “Be Better,” just like the one her son wore, and handed it to Froecher, asking that he give it to APS President and CEO Don Brandt.

He accepted it and embraced Pfingston.

The park is slated to open on Nov. 30.

Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy. Call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2038 or 928-642-7705.