National/World

Local family aims to help fallen Arizona firefighters

Sunday, July 07, 2013

The bodies of the 19 firefighters killed last weekend battling a wildfire in Arizona went on a procession through some of communities that were threatened by the fire and their heroism is inspiring others more than a thousand miles away.

They are getting one last tour of the land they fought to save. Nineteen firefighters, each in a separate hearse, accompanied by motorcycle escorts and an honor guard traveled from the coroner's office in Phoenix through Yarnell, the town where they died while fighting a wildfire sparked by lightning last week.

They end up in Prescott, the Arizona mountain town where they lived, the place where many had families and young children.

"These guys are heroes and some of them have left as many as four kids behind, doing their jobs," said benefit organizer Tim Kelliher.

Kelliher was moved by the tragedy and could relate to the pain the victim's families are going through.

His son is also a mountain firefighter in southern California. Taylor Kelliher at one time interviewed with the Granite Mountain Hotshot group.

So they have developed a T-shirt honoring the fallen firefighters, with their names and the date of last alarm, June 30th. They're selling it online with profits going to the fallen firefighter's families in Prescott.

"It hit close to home and we wanted to do something for the families," Tim Kelliher said.

In Arizona they are doing benefit concerts and other fundraisers for the families also. The Arizona Diamondbacks donated $400,000. The lone survivor on the crew, Brendan McDonough accepted the check.

Tim Kelleher says all profits from the T-shirts, about $15 each, are going directly to the families in Prescott. He is selling them online.

At this point it's a grassroots effort. He and his friends are spreading the word through Facebook.

For more information: http://www.events.org/Prescott19/cpage.aspx?e=63072

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