Prescott remembers the Granite Mountain Hotshots - Tucson News Now

Prescott remembers the Granite Mountain Hotshots

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    Tuesday, March 22 2016 4:07 PM EDT2016-03-22 20:07:47 GMT
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PRESCOTT, AZ (Tucson News Now) - While it's been one year since the deadliest wildfire in Arizona history killed 19 firefighters near Yarnell, the town where most of those firefighters lived continues to recover.

Flags fly at half staff, the “P” on Prescott Peak is now accompanied by the number 19, and T-shirts and banners commemorating the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots are just about everywhere.

"It still makes me cry. It's very sad,” Prescott resident Beth Asadourian said. “I had a good friend, lost her husband. We all lost a lot of people."

She's not alone. In a town of 40,000, just about everyone in Prescott knows at least one of the firefighters' families in some way.

"The entire town took this very personally and we're all interconnected whether we know them from passing in the street, to schools, to work; Everyone here is very concerned about everyone," said resident Ellen Woody.

Bobby Woyjeck doesn't live in Prescott, but he went in April of 2013 when his brother Kevin first became a Granite Mountain Hotshot.

“I love this place,” he said. “Kevin loved the people. I fell in love with it as well. I love the atmosphere here and the people."

He remembers the day Kevin first walked through the doors of his new job. In fact, Bobby even took a picture of Kevin standing under the Granite Mountain Hotshot sign outside Firehouse Number 7 in Prescott.

“Every time I look at that picture I break down,” Woyjeck said. “It feels like yesterday."

After Kevin died, Bobby says he hit rock bottom and had no idea what to do with his life. But then he realized just how disappointed his brother would be if he ever saw him this way. So bobby picked himself up, went back to school and is now an emergency responder with a Los Angeles County ambulance service.

“He would have punched me if he saw me moping around, you know, sitting on my couch, afraid to leave my apartment. That's just not who I am. I was in an interesting place and I'm really glad that I found a way to move on."

With the help of his father, a 34-year veteran and current captain of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Bobby started a non-profit organization in his brother's name.

It's called the Kevin Woyjeck Explorer for Life Foundation. Over the last year, it's already raised nearly $30,000 for disadvantaged young people who aspire to work as firefighters and/or emergency responders in Los Angeles County.

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