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Memoriam and Frustration

Categories: Greater Arizona
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Published on: July 1, 2013

It’s times like this that I remember attending a meeting of the Pearce Fire District years ago. Around that time, there were some big brush fires in New Mexico and departments all over the Southwest were sending personnel. That included the small volunteer fire department in Pearce.

They were figuring out who would go, and got some volunteers. As the discussion wore on, they talked about how some of the equipment they had needed repair and replacement. I realized something: the guys they were sending were getting paid a small amount by whatever agency was managing the fire, and they were expected to put at least some of that money back into their local fire district.

These guys were putting their ass on the line so that their fire truck could get new breaks, maybe some safety or first aid equipment. They were willing to travel hundreds of miles to risk their lives just to make things in their town a little better.

The hotshot crew that died in Yarnell were pros, better trained and better paid than the guys I met in Pearce that night. Still, the same sacrifice.

Because I am always a cynic that finds fault, I am more than a bit perturbed to read the Twitter accounts of a few Arizona Republic reporters who are going on about how the Yarnell fire affects Phoenix politicos. The area is full of people who live and work there. Let’s tell their stories instead of seeing Northern Arizona as a playground for our capital’s ruling class.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

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