The Summit County community rose to the challenge of supporting the families of fallen firefighters by exceeding local fire departments’ donation goals.
Local departments’ efforts to reach out to the families and coworkers of the firefighters who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona were met with a strong response. The local departments raised more than $7,000 for the Yarnell Hill National Fallen Firefighter Hero Fund.
“I am certain the families of the firefighters are truly touched by the outpouring of support both emotionally and financially from around the country,” said Steve Lipsher, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue’s public information officer.
In all, Red, White & Blue raised $3,358, Lake Dillon raised $3,232 and Copper Mountain raised $520, for a total of $7,110 in contributions to the fund.
The money was sent to the Yarnell Hill National Fallen Firefighter Fund Hero Fund, to support the firefighters’ surviving family members. The funds will give them access to important educational and medical programs and services as they begin to rebuild their lives.
“I think it goes to say that living in the West, in a wildfire-prone community like we do, people understand we are all in this together, and the loss of the firefighters in Arizona really resonates with people,” Lipsher said.
The 19 members of the Prescott Fire Department’s interagency Granite Mountain Hotshots died June 30, when they were caught by the Yarnell Hill wildfire. The blaze was the deadliest in Arizona history and resulted in the most wildfire-related firefighter deaths in the United States since 1933.
Kelly Foote, owner of Foote’s Rest in Frisco, said he was devastated when he heard the news. When he found out local fire departments were raising funds for the fallen Prescott firefighters, he was happy to help.
“Having a family with a wife and two kids, I just couldn’t imagine being in a similar situation,” Foote said. “It touched near to our hearts.”
Foote raised more than $400 through two events at his business and continues to collect money for the cause.
Donations raised from the event came in all sizes, Lipsher said.
“People were donating $5 and $10 — which is fantastic, because it goes to show even small contributions really add up,” he said.