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Mon, Oct. 14

Prescott remembers fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots
They stood for everything good and right in the community, Mayor says

A joint fire service honor guard posts the colors during a Remembrance Ceremony for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in 2018 on Montezuma Street in downtown Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

A joint fire service honor guard posts the colors during a Remembrance Ceremony for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in 2018 on Montezuma Street in downtown Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

At 4:42 p.m. Saturday, June 30, a memorial bell cut through the silence of the courthouse plaza, honoring the fallen 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots killed five years ago fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire, ringing once for each name.

Andrew Ashcraft, Robert Caldwell, Travis Carter, Dustin DeFord, Christopher MacKenzie, Eric Marsh, Grant McKee, Sean Misner, Scott Norris, Wade Parker, John Percin Jr., Anthony Rose, Jesse Steed, Joe Thurston, Travis Turbyfill, William Warneke, Clayton Whitted, Kevin Woyjeck, and Garret Zuppiger.

Prescott Fire Department Fire Engineer and former Granite Mountain Hotshot crew member Patrick McCarty read the names.

Bringing up the theory of Six Degrees of Separation, which posits that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps, Prescott Fire Chief Dennis Light said that there are more than 600 connections between the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and an infinite number of connections within the Prescott community to them.

“Today is a time of remembrance, it’s about honoring the service, lives and sacrifice of the Granite Mountain 19 Hotshots who lost their lives five years ago,” Light said. “Let’s not re-live the pain, suffering and emotional trauma from five years past, but instead, let’s work towards a firesafe community for our citizens and most importantly for our firefighters.”

Mayor Greg Mengarelli quoted Isaiah 6:8, explaining the passage gives a window of an interaction between God and Isaiah, with the former calling for someone to go and Isaiah asking to be sent. When he reads this passage, it reminds him of the 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as Flight 93, when on the airplane gave their lives to bring down their hijacked airplane so they might save others, Mengarelli said.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots answered the call, putting everyone else’s life ahead of their own, he said.

“They were some of the bravest, most courageous, hardest working men that we will ever know,” Mengarelli said. “These men stood for everything good and right in our community. They were people that we would want to emulate. They are men that we would want our sons and daughters to emulate. We are so fortunate to have known them.”

They answered the call, but the message Saturday was whether or not the people in attendance would answer the call, he said. Many have, serving as civil servants and in the military, but answering the call takes many shapes and forms.

It could be helping a neighbor, volunteering for a service organization or nursing home or any other charity, the mayor added.

Mengarelli said he is proud of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and that the City of Prescott stands behind the families in support and love.

“We care about you and we are praying for you,” he said. “This city loves you and they care about you.”

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