Originally Published: October 27, 2013 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Giving the gift of health. That is the primary concern of the Travis Turbyfill Wellness Fund, named for fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot Travis Turbyfill, one of 19 Hotshots who died fighting the Yarnell Hill fire on June 30.
Travis' father, David Turbyfill, said the fund began after he and his wife Sherry were approached by staff at Prescott Primary Care, who wished to make a charitable donation to the firefighters. From there the group contacted the Coalition for Compassion and Justice (CCJ), which currently manages the fund for the Turbyfill family.
"After some thought, and seeing where things were headed, we decided to organize a health clinic in Travis' honor," Turbyfill said. "It's starting out as a wellness fund and is turning into a wellness clinic. We feel that the Granite Mountain 19 will never be forgotten, and we are trying to reach out to those who are forgotten within our community."
Money for the fund has been raised through various fundraising activities and from out-of-pocket expenses paid for by the Turbyfill family. The family is currently selling bracelets and T-shirts to raise money for the effort.
"The endeavor is to get this endowed, where it would become a full-blown clinic and run in perpetuity," Turbyfill said. "It's a minimum of $25,000 to have an endowed fund. An endowed fund means it would generate some of its own self-sustaining money through investments."
Besides David and Sherry, other Turbyfill family members, including Travis' mother Colleen Turbyfill and his grandmother Mary Turbyfill, offered flu shots to members of the community during Saturday's Warm for Winter event at the Prescott United Methodist Church. Warm for Winter offers free coats and blankets, as well as camping gear, to those in need.
"Today is about giving flu shots to the uninsured, the under-insured and the less fortunate in the community. We raised enough money to give 500 flu shots," said Colleen Turbyfill. "I've been amazed at how many little kids have been coming in for them. Most of them are so brave. There was a little girl that was probably 3 or 4 and she smiled the whole time."
"I felt that Travis was giving to his community and would work hard for his friends and family. He served his community through being a member of the Marine Corps and later by being a member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots," said David Turbyfill.
He said he hopes the fund will continue to provide basic services to the community.
Clif Reichle, co-owner of Prescott Primary Care, said he reached out to the Turbyfill family immediately following Travis's death.
"When the tragedy happened, we asked how we could help and what we could do in Travis's name. They suggested we do something for the homeless," Reichle said.
Those suggestions eventually led to a coordinated effort with CCJ.
"It dovetails well with the projects they have already established," Reichle said.
Staff members with Prescott Primary Care volunteer their time at various events, while David and Sherry Turbyfill collect donations, and coordinate events with CCJ staff.
Those who wish to learn more about the fund can contact CCJ at 928-445-8382 or visit the Travis Turbyfill Wellness Fund Facebook page.
Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier.