Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Honoring the Granite Mountain Hotshots?

July 15, 2013 - Prescott National Forest Office - US Flag at full mast

Governor Brewer declared that all state flags (which includes the United States flag) in Arizona are to be flown at half mast from July 1 through July 19, 2013; nineteen days - one day for each of the fallen firefighters who offered the ultimate sacrifice on June 30, 2013 while attempting to save lives and property during the Yarnell Hill Fire.  The photo above was taken on July 15th about 4:10pm. 

I walked into their office just after taking this photo...  I asked them why the flag was at full mast and they looked at me puzzled and asked why I was asking.  I informed them that Governor Brewer declared all state flags (the US Flag IS a state flag, representing ALL states!) were to be flown at half mast from July 1 through July 19th.  I was told, "We haven't received anything from the Governor's office, if we do, we'll lower the flag again."  I was a bit in disbelief that they had not heard of the decree, but I went home and found the press release from Governor Brewer's office and emailed it to them.  The next day (today) I received from them:
Hello Scott appreciate your email.

Since we are Federal Agency this is our policy.
The Secretary of Agriculture has directed that U.S. Flags be flown at half-staff sunrise 3 July 2013 thru sunset 9 July 2013 in honor of the 19 firefighters killed in the line of duty in Yarnell Hill, Arizona. 
DR 5160 (excerpt)
I have written to several of our state and national congressmen and senators asking them to urge the Prescott National Forest Office to show some compassion and amend their policy.

Another thought just occurred to me... the Secretary of Agriculture stated the NATIONAL policy, what happens in ARIZONA is a STATE policy dictated by the GOVERNOR of ARIZONA!  In the opinion of this blogger, Governor Brewer's decree overrides the Secretary of Agriculture's statement for government buildings IN Arizona.

Thoughts?  Will you join me in urging the Prescott National Forest Office to honor the Governor of Arizona's request?


Final Exam

At Penn State University, there were four sophomores taking chemistry and all of them had an 'A' so far. These four friends were so confident that the weekend before finals, they decided to visit some friends and have a big party. They had a great time but, after all the hearty partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Penn State until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided that after the final they would explain to their professor why they missed it. They said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final. The professor agreed they could make up the final the next day. The guys were excited and relieved. They studied that night for the exam.

The next day the Professor placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet. They quickly answered the first problem worth 5 points. Cool, they thought! Each one in separate rooms, thought this was going to be easy...then they turned the page. On the second page was written...

For 95 points: Which tire? _________

Friday, July 5, 2013

Granite Mountain Hotshots - Heroes Forever

While fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire, protecting the town of Yarnell, a sudden change in the wind blew the raging wildfire straight back at the Granite Mountain Hotshots - which lost their entire team, save one (who was on another hill as lookout, had radioed the crew that the fire had changed and that he himself had to get to another position).  

This same crew has been all over the Southwest, fighting fires, saving homes and saving lives.  Just the previous weekend they were on the mountain of their namesake, Granite Mountain, fighting the Doce (aka Dosie) Fire and they didn't lose a single structure nor sustain a single significant injury to any of the firefighters!

June 30th, 2013 would not be so fortunate for them.  As they were working up behind the Yarnell Hill Fire, putting themselves between the fire and the town of Yarnell, a thunderstorm just north of them quickly developed sending out-drafts of winds around 40-50 MPH.  The fire changed directions and within moments it surrounded and engulfed the Granite Mountain Hotshots.  It was so quick that some of the brave men did not even have time to get into their protective shelters (when they were found, some were in the shelters, some were not).  The shelters didn't save them, but the fact that not all of them had time to get into the shelter is indicative of how quickly they were overtaken by the firestorm.

This story hits close to home for my family.  My boys grew up with Andrew and TJ Ashcraft.  There was hardly a day when they weren't at each other's sides.  
This is a picture of my boys with Andrew and TJ at one of their favorite fun places.  Left to right: Russell Windsor, Andrew Ashcraft, TJ Ashcraft, Richard Windsor, Scott Windsor, James Windsor.

Here is a picture of Andrew with his wife Juliann and his four children.  If you would like to contribute directly to Andrew's widow and children, the family has setup a fund:  http://www.gofundme.com/3grdgs