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Brian G. Smith, Moorhead, Published July 02 2013

Letter: Help the families of the ‘Hotshots’

I received a text message from one of my best friends in Prescott, Ariz., saying that 19 of 20 Granite Mountain Hotshot crew members had just died fighting the Yarnell fire. I am a native of Prescott and, like my best friend, a veteran of the Prescott Hotshots, which is a sister crew to the team that lost all but one of its members in the Yarnell fire. I am a professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

The Granite Mountain Hotshot crew was made up mostly of local men who now have left widows and children with single parents. The town of Prescott is simply reeling in the wake of this tragedy. To say that these men were some of the best that Prescott had is an understatement. These people were for the most part elite athletes from local high schools whom the people of Prescott used to read about in the sports pages. In other words, many of them were already heroes in the eyes of many Prescottonians.

I feel compelled to write this letter asking the Fargo-Moorhead community to help out with charitable donations to the following Web address: www.prescottffcharities.org/how-you-can-help/. This is a specific fire-fighters charity that has been around for more than five years, and they have set up an account specifically for the families of the fallen “Hotshot” crew. It is a tax-registered charity for your convenience. I am personally giving $100 to this charity.

Whatever you can afford would be greatly appreciated by the Prescott community.