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Fri, Oct. 18

Granite Mountain Hotshot families reach out to Yarnell

The wives, fiancées and other family members of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots will be out today working to help the residents of Yarnell.

The public is welcome to join them from 2 to 7 p.m. outdoors at Celtic Crossings, now at the old Outback Steakhouse in Frontier Village. Admission is by donation. Raffle tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the event. All proceeds benefit the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group, a coalition of local volunteers working to rebuild Yarnell.

Joni Cahn of Prescott, whose daughter Leah lost her fiancé in the Yarnell Hill wildfire that took the lives of the Hotshots, visited Yarnell's town hall meeting Oct. 9 to announce the fundraiser. She told the residents that night that a month after the fire, her daughter had said, "Mom, we have to give back. We have to finish what the boys started.

"We know we need to keep the fight going. There has been so much given to the 19 families but the boys were there for you guys and we need to finish," Cahn said at the meeting.

Fewer than three weeks later, the planned event has surpassed everyone's expectations, organizers said. Grant Scott McKee, the father of one of the 19, has agreed to be master of ceremonies for the event. Live music will include Prescott's Road One South and Yarnell singer-songwriter Denise Roggio, who wrote a tribute to the 19 called "Blazing Honor."

Silent auction items include new tires, tickets to Suns and Arizona Sundogs games, a compound bow, an overnight stay at the Hassayampa Inn, certificates for the Raven Café and Granite Mountain Brewing, a $650 Nascar package and many, many more.

Several items are especially significant, such as a Bushmaster A12 owned by Scott Norris and engraved by Buckey O'Neil with the firefighter emblem, and a turned-wood vase by Yarnell resident Marco Cecala, crafted from an oak tree that burned in the Yarnell Hill wildfire. GPS coordinates engraved in the bottom of the vase indicate the location of the tree from which it was harvested.

Raffle items include cowboy art by Joseph Robertson, custom jewelry by Artful Eye and an original painting from Newman Galleries.

"We are very touched that families hit so hard by this tragedy found it in their hearts to reach out to help Yarnell," said Frances Lechner, Yarnell Hill Recovery Group communications director. "We've been blown away."

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