PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- The City of Prescott rang 19 bells at exactly 4:42pm, the exact time 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots died, one year ago, Monday.
“They were so courageous, they died doing what they wanted to do,” said Prescott resident Joanie Scott.
Scott says the hotshots saved her home, just one week earlier during the Doce fire.
“They knew the dangers, they went anyway,” said Scott.
Flames overran the crew on June 30th 2013 as they battled the fast moving, unpredictable Yarnell Hill Fire.
“It’s been a really long, hard year. We lost a lot of good men,” said Andrea Marks while looking at their 19 pictures lined up at the public memorial Monday.
“It’s the families; I don’t know how they move on,” remarked Marks.
The hotshots’ families gathered at a private ceremony Monday afternoon. They’ve said in past interviews, the Granite Hotshots died doing a job they loved, wholeheartedly. Their motto, “Esse quam videri,” means “To be, rather than to seem.”
“Brave, kind, hardworking, dedicated,” the adjectives Debra Brown used to describe the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Brown, whose own son is a hotshot, says the pain will always linger.
Memories of the men exist everywhere; the number 19 worn proudly across the community.
Joy Collura wrote “19” in ash on her ankle.
“I remember them every single moment,” said Collura, a hiker, who happened to photograph the Granite Mountain Hotshots, the very day they died.
“The kids don’t have their dads,” said Collura. “It still affects me.”
“It’s overwhelming to see amount of support that this community continues to give us, a year later,” said Pat McCarty.
McCarty, a former Granite Mountain Hotshot, told 3TV he left the team June 30th, 2010.
“I can’t even describe the range of emotions,” McCarty said upon learning of the tragedy last year.
“There are so many people in this community that grew up with them,” McCarty said of his firefighter brothers. “It seems every day, we learn something about ourselves that they taught us.”