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Arizona Wildfires: A Father Remembers

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From the time he could talk, Kevin would say, “I’m going to be a firefighter like my dad.” When he was 2 years old, he fell over on his tricycle wearing my fire coat and helmet because they weighed so much. He got his EMT card in high school and worked with an ambulance crew. After a 24-hour shift, he’d go fishing. Sleep was not a priority for him. He wanted to do it all. When he applied for the Hotshots, he took a physical agility test. When he was done with the exam, he ran back to help the guys who were struggling. Kevin was just so honored to be part of that team. On the morning of June 30 he called me at 6:45 and said, “There’s a fire in Yarnell and it’s getting bigger. We probably won’t have cell service, so I’ll call you tonight.” That’s the last we heard from him.

To see the casket with his name on it was just brutal for all of us: his mom, Anna, his sister Maddie and brother Bobby. We spend our life protecting our children, so to let them go in harm’s way goes against everything we taught ourselves. But these boys, these men, were doing what they were trained to do. It was a horrible thing to happen, but they all went together and they’re all together still. The town has banded together to support all 19 families. As much pain as we have, we know there are 18 other families feeling the same thing. We now have a bond that no one will ever be able to take away from us.