Fallen Hotshot's wife reflects on one-year anniversary of Yarnel - Tucson News Now

Fallen Hotshot's wife reflects on one-year anniversary of Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy

The following is a statement from Roxanne Warneke, who reflects on the one-year anniversary of the death of her husband, Billy Warneke, one of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots in the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire: 

"It has been an extremely difficult year for us. We are reluctantly moving on with Billy close to our heart and always on the forefront of our mind. We try to dedicate everything that we do for him. Billy's brothers finished an Ironman for Billy and the Granite Mountain Hotshots yesterday, they trained all year. Last year Billy and I had been drawn for deer. He was an avid hunter so I dedicated that hunt to him, even though I was just shy of 9 months pregnant.

"The firefighting community has been there for me since Capt. Dan Klement knocked on me door on July 1, 2013 to inform of the death of my husband. They have been a rock solid foundation for me and Billie Grace with unwavering and steadfast support. The Tucson community has provided me with much appreciated love and support. I draw my strength from the love and the support that they have so selflessly given me. For Gov Brewer to have ordered all the flags at half staff and seeing all of the flags lowered has shown me that our community mourns the loss of 19 brave men just as we, the 19 families mourn our loved ones.

"As I approached the deployment site this morning my stomach was in knots, and a sob choked in my throat. This was the second time that I had been there, the first time was 2 weeks after the incident. Seeing the new growth vegetation was bittersweet. I hated seeing the scrub that fueled the fire and killed my husband but it also reaffirmed that life continues after death. I was shown the exact location where my husband died. I was able to walk and touch the ground where he fell and where he drew his last breaths. I was able to take home some of the rocks that he had fallen onto. I gathered some for myself and for my mother-in-law.

"Billie Grace enjoyed the ride in the jogging stroller as Cpt Dan Klement pushed her to the deployment site. She is always all smiles and is very sociable. I see her father in her more and more each day."

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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