Remembering Our Heroes: Dustin James DeFord
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.Dustin James DeFordBirth: Dec. 13, 1988Dustin James DeFord, 24, of Prescott, Arizona, formerly of Ekalaka, Montana, died June 30, 2013, while fighting fire with the Granite Mountain Hot Shots on the Yarnell fire near Prescott, Arizona. Eighteen other firefighters lost their lives in the same incident. The entire Nation mourns the loss of these brave men.Dustin was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Steve and Celeste (Crago) DeFord. Dustin joined brothers Brandon, Darren, Jonathan, and Ryan. As time passed, Kenton, Stephen, Rebecca, Nathaniel, and Heidi came along to complete the family. The family moved to Columbus, Montana, on August 1, 1990, and later to Ekalaka, Montana on October 30, 1996. Like his siblings Dustin was homeschooled through elementary and high school, graduating in 2007. He then attended Cornerstone Bible Institute in Hot Springs, South Dakota, graduating in 2010. Dustin decisively put his trust in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior as a young boy. As he grew to maturity his life demonstrated a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.In 2011 he took a short-term mission trip to northern Alberta, Canada, for three months.Through college and after, Dustin worked for the Carter County fire and mitigation crew in Ekalaka, and got a lot of firefighting time in working for the state of Montana. Dustin's ambition was to be a Hot Shot Firefighter, so he was thrilled when he was accepted this spring with the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Dustin was the "life of the party" at any gathering of friends or family, keeping everyone in stitches. He loved entertaining with his goofy humor, hunting, spotlighting, espresso coffee, noise of any kind, social life, and life in general. He could be seen reading his Bible every morning, and was not ashamed at all of his faith.Amazingly, Dustin was not preceded death by any near kin. He is survived by his parents Steve and Celeste DeFord; his seven brothers SSgt Brandon DeFord, Jonathan and Rachel (Anderson) DeFord, Darren and Becky (King) DeFord, Ryan DeFord, Kenton DeFord, Stephen DeFord, and Nathaniel Deford; his two sisters Rebecca DeFord and Heidi DeFord; his nephew Tucker DeFord; his three nieces Sage DeFord, April DeFord, and Samantha DeFord; his grandparents Lyle and Emily DeFord and Bill and Flo Crago; and too many aunts, uncles, and cousins to list.