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home : features : features April 24, 2015

7/17/2013 10:46:00 AM
School district provides help for firefighters attending memorial

Sue Tone

Amidst the grieving crowds attending the July 9 memorial service for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot crewmembers, school buses and babysitters stood ready to help.

Humboldt Unified School District Supt. Paul Stanton said when Gary Spiker, general manager of Tim's Toyota Center, called him the Friday before the service asking if Humboldt could help, Stanton replied, "Yes. What can I do?"

Spiker needed extra parking and staging areas for Hotshot crews coming to Prescott Valley from all over the state and country to pay their respect to the families.

Stanton opened the Bradshaw Mountain High School parking lot, softball field, gym and showers to 75 Hotshot crewmembers, some of whom slept out under the stars on the Sunday and Monday nights, he said.

Liberty Traditional School also opened its doors to television crews, providing restrooms and a Verizon link for broadcasting. Its parking lots also provided overflow parking for Tim's.

"They were amazed when we'd periodically go ask what else they needed," said LTS Principal Michael DeRois.

HUSD Transportation Director Kim Porter helped ferry 50 Central Yavapai firefighters and equipment to Tim's, as well as vans for elderly people attending the services.

"Glassford Hill Middle School was ready to go to stage any firefighters as needed, but they didn't have a need," Stanton said.

Coyote Springs Elementary School was prepared to help with babysitting services, but Tim's took care of childcare needs.

"There was a lot of movement, a lot of activity. We said, 'Whatever you need, we are ready. You just ask and we do,'" Stanton said.

BMHS Principal Kort Miner said about 45 firefighters bunked in the darkened auxiliary gym during the day, and others slept on the softball field at night. On the day of the memorial service, 200 fire trucks used the school's parking lots.

"Being in a leadership role myself, to watch them (organizers) do it on a grander scale, there was a lot to be learned. Everybody did their job; they did what they needed to do," Miner said.

Boy Scouts under the leadership of Becky Cooley, an administrative assistant at Lake Valley Elementary School, handed out water and tissues for the viewers outside the event center. Stanton said district maintenance workers provided trash bags and maintained the trashcans.

"We were ready for a lot of things," Stanton said. "It felt very good to help people."

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