Because of the line of work I have chosen, I am devastated, along with the rest of the fire service, by the loss of 19 firefighters in Prescott, Arizona. But it is because I am a firefighter’s wife that I have cried so many tears for those women who have lost their husbands and fathers of their children.
Since my husband’s entire extended family calls the small town of Prescott home, and my father in-law was a Prescott firefighter for many years, this tragedy has brought so much sadness to my family. And it has come at the time of another tragedy for us: as I write this I am in Prescott to spend time with my father-in-law, who is courageously battling cancer.
During the memorial service for the Granite Hill Firefighters, Harold Schaitberger stated “in this profession, you have two families.” My feeling is that this becomes the most clear during times like these. Thousands of firefighters from all over North America were in attendance at the memorial, while I know the families of the fallen firefighters and the Prescott fire department have experienced overwhelming support from other fire organizations.
Members of the fire service have also supported my family. The Prescott fire department organized a fundraiser for my father-in-law shortly after his diagnosis and many of his firefighting brothers regularly come to visit him. Yesterday I had the honor of meeting the mother of Juliann Ashcraft, the widow of Granite Mountain Hotshot Andrew Ashcraft, because she brought our family dinner.
This week we are reminded of how lucky we are to have a fire family, in addition to our immediate families. It is my hope that you can stop and take a moment to feel grateful for that. And I hope you spend some quality time with your family, knowing that someday your hours together may be numbered. And for some of you, recognize the sometimes difficult job it is to be the spouse of a firefighter, and treat them extra special this week 🙂
To give to the families of the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots go to http://yarnellfallenfirefighters.com/
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