Originally Published: July 1, 2018 6:05 a.m.
After years of diligent work and dozens of meetings, Prescott will have a memorial fitting for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died June 30, 2013 fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire.
The Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership has chosen a piece by Arizona sculptor Deborah Fellows of Sonoita, Arizona. Fellows’ proposal was among 29 that artists submitted.
The memorial — slated for the Cortez Street side of the courthouse plaza, nearer to the southeast corner, by June 30, 2019 — will depict a lone Hotshot backed by a stylized granite-slab image of Granite Mountain. The volunteer partnership announced its choice this past week, prior to Saturday’s five-year mark of the Hotshot tragedy.
The partnership did its job right.
First, its members operated from advice they received from those who worked on the 9/11 memorial in New York: take your time to do it right, they said.
That it has been five years since the Hotshots died, falls far short of its 9/11 counterpart which opened in 2011 — 10 years to the day after the tragedy that killed 2,977 people at the World Trade Center.
In fact, the Prescott memorial will stand as unique on the courthouse plaza — something different than the bronzes of cowboys and veterans already there, but also complementing the Yavapai County Court House itself.
Secondly, the partnership kept the feelings of the Hotshots’ families at the forefront. Reaction from them, as well as local city and county officials, has been positive.
For instance, Danny Parker, the father of fallen Hotshot Wade Parker and a member of the partnership board, said family members were supportive. “All of the family members who have seen it really like it a lot,” he said.
The memorial is a fitting way to honor the 19 Hotshots, and the design, size and tone of the memorial is just right. It will take on different looks, depending on the time of day, and it will acknowledge not only the Hotshots, but also a local victory of theirs: saving the alligator juniper near Granite Mountain during the Doce Fire, which was their assignment just before their last alarm call to Yarnell.
Next up is the partnership’s effort to raise the $500,000 it will need for the memorial. The cost, they said, would be covered through a combination of contributions from the community and from local governments. For more information, visit www.gmhsmemorial.com.
This tribute will be a very appropriate way to honor the fallen, and will only enhance the courthouse plaza.