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Yarnell volunteer creates pin to honor fallen heroes

PHOENIX — First, a tribute to the 19 Yarnell firefighters was painted. Now, the painting has been commemorated on a pin.

“It’s not about me at all,” said Red Cross spokeswoman Michele Maki, who is also an artist and volunteer. “It’s all about Yarnell. It’s all about the firefighters that perished there and the whole community.”

The painting on the pin shows the Yarnell Hill Fire, during which 19 firefighters perished on June 30, 2013.

“I took what I saw, the patches that I saw them wear, and researched it,” she said. “I wanted to honor them.”

The Yarnell fire hit the Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter especially hard because it was so close to home, she added.

The pin will be given to more than 700 Red Cross Grand Canyon volunteers at a March 22 brunch at the Phoenix Zoo.

For many volunteers, these pins are like little thank-yous that symbolize a history of who they are and what they’ve accomplished.