I have shared before about my life in Arizona, the life I had before moving to the green landscapes of Western Pennsylvania. I was not born there, but if you ask where I’m from, I’ll tell you Prescott, AZ.
Prescott is where my family landed the year I started 8th grade, and there I remained for twenty three years. Prior to that, my childhood had been nomadic. My father’s career in military service followed by his years of schooling under the GI Bill meant that my family moved every 2-3 years. Prescott was where his second career began, and the place we finally set down roots.
I live in Pennsylvania now, and I love it – I truly do. But I would be telling a lie if I said this heart of mine did not ache for those clear blue skies and the hot sun of an Arizona day now and again.
Prescott has grown over the years, but it remains a small town at heart. Everyone knows each other, but more than that – everyone cares for each other. And when you leave, something of it goes with you and ties you across the miles to the people and places you knew there.
So, it was a different ache in my heart altogether when I saw the news headlines out of Prescott. Nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shot Crew lost their lives battling a raging wildfire in Yarnell. These same crew members had just fought to hold back the Doce Fire that was threatening to encroach on the town of Prescott.
I come from a family with ties to the Prescott Forest and the fire crews that work and train there. I cannot find the words to describe the bravery and dedication that is found in the heart of every firefighter. I did not know these particular firefighters, but I know the risks they took. My heart breaks for them, for their families, and for my home town.
You will always be remembered.