Firefighters' President Honors Prescott's 19 Incredible "Brothers in Arms"

"The men we lost in those hills lived and served for others-- for all of us," International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold A. Schaitberger said in commemorating the lives of 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hot Shots at their memorial service today in Prescott, Arizona.

"Nineteen Brothers in Arms, bound together by the essence of the words 'Honor'...'Commitment'... 'Pride'...'Courage' and 'Sacrifice.' Incredible men, highly trained to endure conditions beyond the capacity of most of us.

"They were a unique band of men in the fire service, responding across the country to raging wildfires that the public only views through the prism of their televisions. They were also 19 incredible husbands and husbands-to-be, fathers and fathers-to-be, sons, brothers and friends.

"But today we are all one family -- the loved ones of the Yarnell Hills 19.
 
"But where the general public can usually hear the sirens and see the rigs and hoses in the streets, hot shots operate differently. Most of the time, this incredible Granite Mountain crew was invisible to the people they served -- unseen, but no less important.

"These 19 fire fighters did what they were trained to do -- they used the equipment they had and, as every crew does in every station in every fire department, they instinctively had each other's backs.

"Most people don't fully comprehend -- can't comprehend -- the culture and the bond of our profession. We live together, work together, eat our meals together and put our lives in each other's hands.

"The fact is, we have two families -- at home and our fire fighting family on the job.

"And so our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the 19 Prescott fire fighters in Arizona who have made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the communities they serve."
 
Harold Schaitberger is General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents 300,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada.  

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