PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -- Thousands of country music fans filled Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley to honor the 19 elite firefighters who died while protecting the community of Yarnell.
“They put their own life at risk for all of us,” said Debbie Winnie, who drove up from Phoenix Monday night for the Country Cares Concert, headlined by Arizona native Dierks Bentley.
“It’s just horrendous, overwhelming. It’s terrible. They’re truly heroes,” Winnie said.
Those heroes left behind grieving loved ones. The United Phoenix Firefighters Association will distribute the concert proceeds to the 19 families. Between ticket sales, T-shirt sales and silent-auction items, money raised Monday could amount to $500,000, according to Capt. Rich Bauer.
His estimate was close. According to 92.9 KAFF Country, the Flagstaff radio station that put together the benefit concert, the final total from Monday night's event was $442,252.27.
Even though the concert is over, donations are still be accepted via Razoo.
Those who attended Monday's Country Cares Concert said they could not think of a better cause
“It’s important to honor the families who lost their children, their husbands, their fathers , their sons,” said Cyndy Ducote, who knew Wade Parker, one of the fallen firefighters.
Cheyenne Wilson knew Parker, as well. The Granite Mountain Hotshot was also a musician. Wilson brought his guitar to the concert to be autographed.
“The family has so graciously let us bring the guitar today, and Dierks Bentley has graciously agreed to sign it for us, for the family," she said.
Wilson says Wade’s brother plans to take up the guitar in his honor.
Concert organizers tell 3TV 6,000 tickets were sold. The concert is just one of many events held to raise funds for the families of the fallen.
“The families are going to need support for a long time,” said Patti Snow. “There’s babies who haven’t been born yet.”
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Larry Snow.
Less than 24 hours after the benefit concert, the media was getting its first up-close look at where the 19 Granite Mountain Hosthsots died. 3TV's Mike Watkiss was part of the tour and will have the latest Tuesday on "Good Evening Arizona," starting at 4:30 p.m.