As the city of Prescott continues to grieve the recent loss of 19 of our finest men, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, the wounds from the tragic events of June 30 are still fresh.
From the first moment the news broke, our city was overwhelmed with heartfelt calls and letters filled with sympathy and support for the families of the men and our community. We realize that there is no way to personally recognize and thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of support that has been received.
Firefighters and uniformed officers from more than 200 agencies and organizations in Arizona and around the country rushed to Prescott to join the Incident Management Team. They worked tirelessly around the clock to meet the needs of the families, our fire department and our community.
The 100 Club of Arizona, which provides assistance for families of fallen public safety officers and firefighters, was one of the first on the scene to provide the families with direct financial assistance. The city of Phoenix Fire Department stepped up, arriving in full force to bolster our fire department and establish a donation account for the families. Their help, along with the other firefighters from Arizona and around the country, freed up crucial time to allow Prescott firefighters to be with the families and attend the memorial and funeral services.
Donations to help the families continue to arrive; they are much needed and appreciated.
The Arizona Diamondbacks led the way raising $700,000.
Seven-year-old Ava Kleinman and her family's bake sale raised $25,000.
Numerous local businesses in Prescott and throughout Arizona have contributed large sums. The donations from out-of-state have been incredible. The community of Bakersfield, Calif., and the Kern County Fire Department raised more than $125,000.
Whether a substantial check or a dollar placed in a local donation boot, every bit helps.
To the thousands of groups and individuals who have donated and deserve to be individually recognized, we apologize for not being able to mention each and every one of you.
The City Council is especially grateful to our Prescott Fire Department and other city employees, who in the midst of so much anguish stood tall and excelled under the most difficult of circumstances.
Through the worst kind of tragedy imaginable, the world learned of Prescott's best, and Prescott has received the best from the world.
Important work is underway to fulfill our pledge to honor each of these men for their legacy with the highest distinction. We must honor them in the same way we honor others of our country who have led by example, and in doing so made the ultimate sacrifice. The Granite Mountain Hotshots will never be forgotten, nor will the generosity and compassion that was bestowed upon our community by so many others.
Marlin Kuykendall is mayor of Prescott. Council members are Charlie Arnold, Steve Blair, Alan Carlow, Chris Kuknyo, Jim Lamerson and Len Scamardo. For the full list of those offering assistance and donations go to azstarnet.com