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Prescott Firefighter Charities says fundraisers for Hotshots failed to pass proceeds on to families

PRESCOTT - Two recent golf tournaments billed as fundraisers for the families of the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots have yet to produce any proceeds toward the effort, according to representatives of the Prescott Firefighter Charities.

Ray Maione, chair of Prescott Firefighters Charities, says his organization has made a formal request for the money raised in the tournaments - one in Prescott, and one in Scottsdale - but has not yet received the proceeds.

"He (event organizer Ben Schaub) said we needed to make a formal request," Maione said in a telephone interview Friday, Oct. 16. But so far, Maione said, the non-profit organizer of the golf tournaments has not passed on the money raised.

Maione explained that Prescott Firefighter Charities had given approval in 2014 for the use of the Granite Mountain Hotshot logo for a golf tournament organized by the Arizona Foundation for Charitable Support.

"He (Schaub) asked one of the volunteers if I would authorize it, and I said 'sure,'" Maione said.

Then, before receiving any of the proceeds from the first tournament, Maione said he learned that the Phoenix-based organization was conducting another Granite Mountain Hotshots fundraiser for this year without renewing the logo authorization.

Normally, he said, an organization would get a courtesy authorization for a second, similar event.

"If they had given us the funds from the first one, as a courtesy, they would usually ask for authorization for the second one," he said. "We're pretty liberal with the use of the logo, as long as it benefits the charities or the families."

Schaub did not respond to a Daily Courier request for comment this week, but Maione said the Arizona Foundation for Charitable Support has stated that it would welcome any requests for funds from the Hotshot families.

That, in itself, is unusual, Maione said. "No other organization has said we need to make a formal request for the funds," he said.

Amy Armenta, event coordinator and administrative assistant at the Prescott office of the Prescott Firefighters Charities and the 100 Club of Arizona, agreed.

"Typically, there doesn't have to be a request; they cut a check to us (with the proceeds)," she said, adding that the Prescott Firefighter Charities then passes the money on to the 100 Club, which distributes it to the families.

"We are the liaison to the families," Armenta said of the Prescott Firefighter Charities and the 100 Club (an organization that assists firefighters, police, and their families in times of crisis). "We have the direct contact with the families; we have been with them since day-one."

Having to request the money from the various fundraisers would put the families "in a very awkward position," Armenta said.

Maione said the Prescott Firefighter Charities organization chose to copyright the Granite Mountain Hotshot logo early on to prevent such situations from occurring.

And in the vast majority of instances, there is no issue, he said, noting, "Ninety percent of the people gave and did the right thing."

Added Armenta: "When people are trying to raise funds for the Granite Mountain Hotshot families, they should uphold that."

Nineteen of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew died in June 2013 fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire. Many fundraising efforts have occurred since then to help the surviving family members.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-642-0951.

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