I suffered long distance. I mourned past mountain ranges. My shock took only fractions of a second in response to an event hundreds of miles away.
I was in Northern California for the holiday week, when a friend, a former fire fighter in Phoenix, contacted us saying 19 men had perished in the Yarnell Hill wildfire.
I told my wife that while it was a horrible tragedy, he must have been mistaken about the number. I recall the loss of two, perhaps four in incidents over the years, but 19 was unthinkable. Those are the kinds of numbers that we read about with the World Trade Center. And then the national news confirmed it as a nightmare reality: 19 elite firefighters, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, most in their 20s, some of their ashes already a part of Yarnell Hill.
And even though I was in the Bay Area, I didn’t lack for information. It was often the lead story locally and on the networks. But, I never got to know any of them or their families, until this weekend.
I’m not here to sell newspapers, but in Sunday’s Arizona Republic there are stories on each of them. Read them…touch their pictures…and when you do, remember that paper you’re touching is made out of trees.
I’m Pat McMahon.
For volunteer, fundraising and other ways to assist those affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, go to yarnellfallenfirefighters.com.
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments