Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Lake Dillon firefighters help families of fallen Arizona Hotshots
Local fire districts have joined together to raise funds for the families and coworkers of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, the Prescott, Ariz., firefighters who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona earlier this summer.
The Lake Dillon Fire Protection District, the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District and the Copper Mountain Fire Department are asking for the public’s support in their endeavor.
“Firefighters are a real tight set of people. They have mutual admiration and respect for each other,” said Steve Lipsher, public information officer for the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District. “When the tragedy occurred in Arizona, I think all of us felt a real loss and true anguish.”
Part of what makes firefighters so close is their willingness to help each other out, no matter the location or situation. Firefighters rush to the aid of out-of-state communities all the time, he said. “And we would do the same.”
“Quite frankly, we know that if we get a big wildfire in Summit County, we will be calling for help — and we would accept it from anywhere.”
Representatives from local fire districts hope the community will share their appreciation for the sacrifices of firefighters around the country, including the 19 Hotshots, and contribute to the fund as a token of support.
“The fire service is a family, and we feel the sorrow of the family’s loss,” said Red White & Blue chief Jim Keating, in a media release. “This fundraiser is just a small way we can share in their concerns and show our support.”
“It is a staggering loss of 19 firefighters in the primes of their lives,” Lake Dillon chief Dave Parmley added. “Survivors will be grateful forever to know that their sacrifice was recognized with an outpouring of support well beyond Arizona and the Prescott Valley.”
Money raised from the Summit County community will be sent to the Yarnell Hill National Fallen Firefighter Hero Fund to assist survivors and coworkers as they begin to rebuild their lives and to support the programs and services they will need.
“I think that as a community in an area that is susceptible to a wildfire, much like the Yarnell fire, that we should have empathy for the families of those firefighters who were lost,” Lipsher said.
Summit County fire districts have a goal to pool at least $1,900 to donate to the national fund. Lipsher said he hopes the community can gather enough funds to make a “meaningful contribution” to the effort.
“There were 19 firefighters that were lost and who knows how many untold numbers of people who have been profoundly affected by that,” he said. “If Summit County can make a nice donation — in addition to the donations they are receiving around the country — hopefully we can give those friends and family some peace and let them know about our appreciation and concern for them.”
Contributions in the form of checks or cash will be accepted by mail, or in person during regular business hours, at any of the three Summit County fire departments. Checks should be payable to the individual fire departments, noting on the check: “Yarnell Hill Fallen Firefighters Fundraiser.” The deadline for donations is 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 9.
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