Service in Yarnell led by grandfather of one of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots

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Granite Mountain Hotshots. (30 June 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] Granite Mountain Hotshots. (30 June 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]
YARNELL, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A service was held today at Yarnell Assembly of God to honor the Granite Mountain Hotshots who sacrificed their lives to save people and homes in the Yarnell Hill Fire. The names of all 19 men were read at 4:42, the official time of their deaths. 

One by one, Lew Theokas read the names of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, ending on his own grandson, Garret Zuppiger. He said his grandson was incredibly loving and called him moments before they were overrun by fire. 

“He always ended the phone call with ‘I love you,’” Theokas said.

Related: Arizona remembers deadly Yarnell Hill Fire as Goodwin Fire burns

"This church where we’re holding it this year was the site where we had our first community meetings when people came back from the fire,” said Frances Lechner with the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group.

At Granite Mountain State Park, dozens came by to show their respects Friday.

“These were the conditions they had to experience, on top of the arduous back country, and on top of that, they had 50 to 70-pound packs on,” said Sarah Steele with Arizona State Parks.

Firefighters fighting the Goodwin fire were making the 7-mile round trip hike to the shelter deployment site. A bouquet of flowers was also left by hotshot Andrew Ashcraft's mother. 

“It’s very emotional because there are all these families without fathers brothers sons,” said Angela Dalen, who came up from the Valley to visit the site. 

"I will always remember them," Theokas said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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