Fallen hot shot widow, Roxanne Warneke pushes for political chan - Tucson News Now

Widow of fallen hot shot pushes for political change

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Roxanne Warneke addresses media Thursday Aug. 15, 2013 pushing for political action over benefits. Roxanne Warneke addresses media Thursday Aug. 15, 2013 pushing for political action over benefits.
ORO VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The wife of a local fallen firefighter is pushing for political action to give all the families of the fallen 19 Yarnell Hill Firefighters equal benefits. Roxanne Warneke appeared at a news conference in Oro Valley.

Roxanne Warneke sent Governor Jan Brewer a letter today urging for political change. Her husband, Billy Warneke was one of 13 firefighters hired as a season employee. Meaning the family will get less money than those fallen firefighters who were permanent workers.

She's hoping Governor Brewer will call a special session and change this not only for her family but all similar cases in the future.

A month and a half after 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots were killed, reality is setting in for many of their families. On Thursday, one of the widows of the fallen firefighters is pushing to have Governor Jan Brewer to call a special session so that there will be equal benefits for all.

"I'm really more going toward the state to do something since it was state land. Again, it's not just about the Yarnell 19 but it's also any other types of tragedies that happens on state land," said Roxanne Warneke, widow of fallen hot shot.

Roxanne's husband, Billy Warneke was one of 13 seasonal firefighters. The other six were permanent. The difference for what those families will receive is in the millions of dollars.

With a baby on the way, Roxanne says the $328,000 she's supposed to get from the Federal Government won't cut it.

"I'm fighting for my daughter's future and for any families. Because I don't want them to go through this," said Roxanne.

House Speaker Andy Tobin has been writing legislation to change that... where regardless of employment status, all firefighter's state benefits will be equal regardless of employment status.

Not everyone agrees. "It's really sad what happened but I just don't think it's fair after the fact," said Mandy Key.

Billy had worked as a firefighter for three months and was married to Roxanne for four years.

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