Remembering Our Heroes: Chris Mackenzie
Originally Published: July 8, 2013 6:01 a.m.
Through Tuesday, The Daily Courier is publishing stories of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who died in the Yarnell Hill fire. The photos and text are courtesy of the Prescott Fire Department.Chris MackenzieBirth: Sept. 12, 1982Chris was born at Kaiser Hospital in Fontana, California. He was born with eyelashes that women would die for and before he left the hospital one of the maternity ward nurses put him in one arm and a set of twin boys on the other and showed them off to all the mothers and nurses. He was taken home to San Bernardino to meet his 17-month-old brother Aaron. From the very beginning you could tell he was going to be mellow and easy-going. When he was three his family moved to Hemet and he attended elementary, middle and high school. He was in the GATE program for exceptional students when in elementary school, and he was a Boy Scout who earned his Eagle Scout ranking. He was a big kid, and upon graduating from middle school went out for football at Hemet High and played all four years. Because of football he developed a love for working out and was well on his way to becoming healthy by the time he graduated in 2001. After high school he developed a passion for snowboarding, moved to Big Bear, went to work for Snow Summit for four seasons, and became an excellent snow boarder. His next adventure began when he applied to become a seasonal firefighter with the U.S. Forest service, and ended up on the Taquitz crew on the San Bernardino National Forest. He went on to serve on a helicopter crew for the Bureau of Land Management and the Mill Creek Hotshots on the San Bernardino National Forest. He was invited to apply to the Granite Mountain Hotshots by Aaron Stevens, one of his former captains, and just started his third season as a full time employee of Prescott City Fire as a lead crew member. Chris lived his life to the fullest and went places most people only dreamed about. He collected friendships like other people collect shot glasses. He loved fighting wildfire and told his brother he saw it as a way to see the most beautiful country in America. He was loved by everyone he met and will forever have a place in their hearts.Christopher is survived by his mother Lauri Goralski, father Michael Mackenzie, brother Aaron Mackenzie, step mother Janice Mackenzie, and step-sisters Janae Gier and Jill Allison.