God bless the Firefighters
I am still fairly new to Arizona. This is a sad day for the residents of a state I have come to love. There is a wildfire blazing northwest of Phoenix. That wildfire has taken 19 lives, all but one member of the elite firefighting team the Granite Mountain Hotshots. As I drove past buildings today with flags at half-mast, I thought of the families and the visions they must try to keep at bay, the questions that will never be answered, the tremendous loss they are feeling. I cannot imagine. I can only say a prayer that they feel some love and gratitude from the rest of us who feel helpless.
I just want to write their names, their ages, and sit in silence a moment to say goodbye and pray for the families and wonder what special kind of place is set aside for those who willingly step into harm’s way so the rest of us are safe — so that our property, our memories, our lives are protected.
And to the survivors, my heart aches for you. I know how close you all get, how much you depend on one another. Your pain is a thing so few of us will ever have to experience. And you can’t take time to grieve right now. The fire still blazes. You have work to do. Our thoughts are with you. We pray you remain safe.
Farewell: Anthony Rose, age 23; Eric Marsh, age 43; Robert Caldwell, age 23; Clayton Whitted , age 28; Scott Norris, age 28; Dustin Deford ,age 24; Sean Misner, age 26; Garret Zuppiger, age 27; Travis Carter, age 31; Grant McKee, age 21; Travis Turbyfill, age 27; Jesse Steed, age 36; Wade Parker, age 22; Joe Thurston, age 32; William Warneke, age 25; John Percin, age 24. Kevin Woyjeck, age 21, Chris MacKenzie, age 30; Andrew Ashcraft, age 29. No harm can ever come your way again. May you rest in peace.