On July 11, family, friends, and colleagues gathered to say their final goodbyes to three firefighters who were part of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died in Arizona wildfires .
Those three recieved military honours because they weren’t only firefighters, they were also U.S. Marines.
“Going in I knew that this was a big deal,” said Marine Cpl. Chelsea Flowers Anderson, the military photographer who documented the honours. “I wanted to do these families and these men justice.”
You can find Flowers’ write-up on the funeral here, it’s definitely worth a read.
On June 30, 2013, 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters gave their lives protecting the community of Yarnell, Ariz., from a wildfire. Among those killed were three Marine veterans: Cpl. Jesse Steed, Lance Cpl. Travis Turbyfill and Cpl. Billy Warneke.
Nearly half the Hotshots were dedicated family men, including Travis, who wanted to become a structural firefighter so he could spend more time with his family.
Fellow members of the Hotshots carry Travis' casket into Heights Church in Prescott, Ariz, July 10. The camaraderie between the Hotshot crew members was similar to what Travis and the other Marine veterans had experienced while in the Corps.
In addition to the discipline and respect they learned in the Corps, Travis and Jesse brought a high level of fitness to the Hotshot team. They introduced their new brothers to doing push-ups in accordance with the number on each card drawn from a deck, often beginning after 16 hours on the job.
Travis leaves behind two daughters, Brooklyn and Brynley. He was a hands-on dad who changed diapers, painted fingernails and kept a copy of Goodnight, Moon in his truck to read to the girls over the phone while he was away fighting fires.
Travis' funeral was a solemn affair. The church was packed with family members, friends, fellow Hotshots and other members from the community. Although Travis' daughters are too young to fully comprehend the magnitude of the event, Stephanie will be there to help them remember how much their father loved them.
Stephanie is now in a similar position to many of the other Hotshot widows. She must pick up the pieces and care for her two girls, but now she will do it alone.
Travis and Jesse were laid to rest in their hometown of Prescott, Ariz., at Arizona Pioneer Home Cemetery July 10 and 11.
Both Travis and Jesse received military honours at their funerals in acknowledgment of their service in the Marine Corps and selfless sacrifices as firefighters.
On July 11, family and friends gathered in memory of Jesse Steed at Heights Church in Prescott, Ariz.
During the service, family remembered Jesse for his humour, his commitment and his love for each one of them. The Marine Corps presented his widow, Desiree, with a flag in gratitude for his years of service.
Cambria, Jesse's three-year-old daughter, while too young to understand what her dad's death means, has many reminders of how much he loved her, including the playground he and other Hotshots built in their backyard.
Caden, Jesse's four-year-old son, loved tagging along with his dad wherever he went whether working in the garage or at the station.
Caden loved dressing up and pretending to be a firefighter. But being just any firefighter wasn't't good enough — he had to be his dad.
The small, close-knit community of Prescott is heartbroken by the loss of the 19 heroes who gave their lives to protect Yarnell. Displays are located throughout town in honour of their sacrifice and to keep their memories alive. They will never be forgotten.
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