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home : features : community December 17, 2014


8/5/2013 9:59:00 AM
Raising money, hope and spirits:
Events to aid victims bring in millions of dollars
An oversized check is held up during the Country Cares Concert to benefit the families of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. The concert held at Tim's Toyota Center was put on in conjunction with the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association and raised more than $440,000.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
An oversized check is held up during the Country Cares Concert to benefit the families of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. The concert held at Tim's Toyota Center was put on in conjunction with the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association and raised more than $440,000.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
The Crown Kings perform for several thousand people on Montezuma Street for the Prescott Strong fundraiser, which raised money for the families of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots and the citizens of Yarnell affected by the Yarnell Hill fire.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
The Crown Kings perform for several thousand people on Montezuma Street for the Prescott Strong fundraiser, which raised money for the families of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots and the citizens of Yarnell affected by the Yarnell Hill fire.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
How to help families of fallen Hotshots, residents of Yarnell, homeless pets
Put on your walking shoes and bring your "best friend," family, co-workers and neighbors for a fun walk around the courthouse plaza in Prescott led by our beloved Police K-9 Units from Prescott and Prescott Valley along with some of our Arizona Sundogs. Meet at 8 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at The Streets of New York in the Albertson's Shopping Center.

Meet people from the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group and Petey's Playground. Find out more about what is going on in Yarnell and meet some of the animals in need of adoption. Recovery time is estimated at two years!

All monies raised will go directly to the animals in need of medical care, food and other items to keep them in their homes or help with their care until they find new homes!

The event is sponsored by The Prescott Dog, Big Dog Charitable Foundation, The Streets of New York, Albertson's, Olsen's Grain, Whisker's Barkery, Dandy Dawgs, Pet Headquarters, Luv Mutts Therapy Dogs, N.O.A.H. Thrift Store, At Matt's Grooming, EMI Printworks, Sound on Site, AZ Sundogs,Petey's Playground and The Yarnell Hill Recovery Group.

For more information, go to www.prescottdog.com.

Prescott Strong is still selling T-shirts commemorating the 19 Hotshots who died in the Yarnell Hill wildland fire. They are $20, payment must be in cash, and are available at the Palace, the Bird Cage and Matt's, all located on Whiskey Row.

The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild will soon be distributing a special brew, "Heroes 19," produced by the Prescott Brewing Company, in a cooperative effort with guild members who contributed 19 different hops and a 19 on the color scale to create an American brown ale. The date that brewers around the state will be distributing Heroes 19 is expected to be announced this coming week.

United Way of Yavapai County is still collecting household items for Yarnell residents at its drop-off location in warehouse space behind Big Lots at the Boulders shopping center on Gail Gardner Way in Prescott. To find out exactly what items are needed, call the warehouse at 928-237-9073. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Donations to UWYC's funds for Yarnell residents and Hotshots' families may be dropped off at any branch of National Bank of Arizona, where an account has been set up, through UWYC's website, www.unitedwayyavapai.org or by mailing a check made out to "Yarnell Fire Fund" to UWYC, 634 Schemmer Drive, Suite 302, Prescott AZ 86305.

Granite Mountain Brewing, 123 N. Cortez, will celebrate its first anniversary the weekend of Aug. 8 to Aug. 11. In honor of the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots, the brewing company will release its American Red Ale with the name "Hot Shot Red." Pints of Hot Shot Red will sell for $5, with a portion of every pint from the entire three-barrel batch going to support United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association and the United Way of Yavapai County's Yarnell fire funds. The brewery will also raffle off prizes to raise money for the cause. For more information, visit www.GraniteMountainBrewing.com.

The Yarnell Hill Recovery Group continues to collect money for Yarnell residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the fire. Checks payable to the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group may be sent to P.O. Box 1086, Yarnell AZ 85362.

The Arizona School Boards Association has set a goal of raising $5 million over the years to provide financial assistance for the families and children of the Hotshots. Checks may be sent to the association, the fund's fiscal agent, 2100 N. Central Ave., Phoenix AZ 85004.

The Yavapai College Foundation has created the Granite Mountain Hotshots Scholarship Fund for community college needs of spouses and children of the 19 fallen Hotshots and for Brendan McDonough, the 20th Hotshot who survived the fire. People can donate to the scholarship online at http://www.yc.edu/hotshots, by calling the foundation at 776-2025, or by mailing a donation to Yavapai College Foundation, 1100 E. Sheldon St., Prescott AZ 86301.

Talking Rock Ranch will host a golf tournament and fundraiser on Aug. 19 in memory of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Proceeds will go to the fund set up by the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association and Prescott Fire Fighters Charities. For information and details, call the Talking Rock Fundraising Committee at 928-493-2603.

Those who want to by tickets for the 1989 fire truck that Mesa Rosa's group of Mexican restaurants in Texas is raffling off may call 512-218-1818.

The United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, together with Prescott Fire Fighters Charities, has established a 501(c)(3) relief fund at any Chase bank. Ask for the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association Account set up to benefit firefighters' families. Visit www.yarnellfallenfirefighters.com for complete information. Donors may donate to this account using PayPal or mail their donations to UPFFA, 61 E. Columbus, Phoenix, AZ, 85012. All of the tax-deductible contributions will go to the firefighters families. The site states donations may also be made through the 100 Club or the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

The 100 Club of Arizona is raising money for the families of the fallen firefighters.

Donors may click on a link on its website, www.100club.org, to contribute to the club's Survivors Fund in memory of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

They also may mail checks to the club at 5033 N. 19th Ave., Suite 123, Phoenix, AZ 85015. To donate directly to the families, indicate on the memo line of the check Phoenix Firefighters Union Relief Fund.

Checks may be payable to the union relief fund to the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, 61 E. Columbus, Phoenix, AZ 85012.

For more information, call (602) 485-0100.


Karen Despain
Special to the Tribune


When Prescott Valley resident Carleen Lowrey and her daughter, Chris, went out for dinner recently in Round Rock, Texas, she realized just how deeply the Yarnell Hill wildland fire tragedy had touched so many.

In front of the Mesa Rosa Mexican Restaurant is a sign that reads, "Arizona Firemen Benefit Raffle Saturday, Aug. 10."

"I'm from there," Lowrey told the waitstaff before asking about the benefit.

Mesa Rosa manager Tiffany Hanney confirmed what Lowrey heard that evening in mid-July - that Mesa Rosa owner Hamid Zarafshani saw news of the deaths of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots and changed his plans for the 1989 fully operational firetruck he had considered putting in a children's play area. Instead, the lucky person with the winning ticket in the Aug. 10 drawing will take home this truck.

Zarafshani decided this raffle to benefit the fallen firefighters' families "would be better use of the firetruck," Hanney said, adding that proceeds will go to the fund set up by the United Phoenix Firefighters Association and Prescott Fire Fighters Charities.

This outpouring of support began immediately, when the 100 Club of Arizona presented $15,000 to each family of the Hotshots the day after the fire. Support has not stopped, Ciara Franklin, marketing and media manager, said of the 100 Club's commitment in what remains a "fluid situation."

Money that is coming into the club is going into the Granite Mountain Hotshots Survivors Fund, and to date, more than $1.5 million has been received from companies, fundraisers and individuals.

This money, Franklin said, is being segregated for the 19 families to meet their individual needs as well as needs of the Prescott Fire Department and others affected by the fire.

Because the 100 Club is a 501(c)(3), it cannot be a "pass-through" for handing out lump sums, but club officials are now meeting with individual families to determine what each needs to carry on their daily lives. And, Franklin said, in the weeks that followed the fire, the 100 Club provided financial support for operations at the incident command post at Prescott High School, paid family expenses, such as for travel and outstanding bills due, and filled gaps in paying for services at the memorial for the Hotshots at Tim's Toyota Center.

To date, the 100 Club has spent about $800,000 of the donated money, but Franklin said the organization would continue to support Hotshot families with financial advisors and legal counsel, as well as helping them with their everyday needs.

Because the loss of the 19 Hotshots overwhelmed the Prescott Fire Department, Prescott Fire Fighter Charities partnered with United Phoenix Firefighters Association in setting up a fund for their Hotshot families.

To date, the donations to the fund amount to $2.6 million, David Leibowitz, spokesman for Professional Firefighters of Arizona, said. Union leadership has been working on how best to distribute the money to the families.

"How do we get these dollars to the families without creating a massive tax liability? is the question the leadership team is asking, Liebowitz said. "There can be tax consequences," so the team wants to be sure the families "get the most possible benefit with the least possible hassle."

The Black Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross set up shelters for Yarnell Hill fire evacuees at both Yavapai College and Wickenburg High School.

Red Cross volunteers were on hand immediately to manage the shelters and assist displaced Yarnell residents get medications they needed, food and lodging, Geri Wright, chief development officer for the chapter, said. So far, $110,000 has come in specifically for the chapter's Yarnell response and more is expected.

If funds come in marked for Hotshot families, the chapter notifies the donors, sends the checks back and suggests they contribute to the 100 Club, Wright said.

United Way of Yavapai County has collected upwards of $300,000 and is continuing to process online donations coming in, Melanie Jacobson, executive director, said. "We are the only fundraiser giving money directly to the Yarnell families," she said. "We are the only agency that can guarantee that 100 percent of our donations will be distributed to Hotshots' families and Yarnell residents."

When checks come in specifying that they be distributed equally to each of the 19 Hotshot families, UWYC will give that money to Prescott Fire Fighters Charities to distribute. What is left will focus on the handful of survivors who are not recognized as legal representatives of the Hotshot. "We want to make sure that survivors who don't qualify as legal representatives are taken care of," she said.

At the outset, UWYC was on the ground putting people in motels and giving them cards for meals and gasoline, Jacobson said.

Now, UWYC is coordinating with the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group to identify residents who lost homes completely and are uninsured or under-insured to coordinate how remaining money will be distributed to those who need it most, Jacobson said.

Soon after the fire, UWYC set up a relief center n warehouse space behind Big Lots at the Boulders shopping center on Gail Gardner Way to accept donations of clothing, household items, toiletries and other necessities for people whose homes were destroyed. A truckload of goods is going to Yarnell almost every day, Jacobson said.

Thousands turned out on July 21 for the Prescott Strong fundraiser on Whiskey Row to raise money for Hotshots' families and Yarnell residents. Dave Michelson, one of the organizers, said that as of Friday, a bank account set up specifically for this cause is "pushing toward $200,000" and will go higher because of commitments that haven't been realized yet.

He said 70 percent of the money is designated for families of Hotshots and 30 percent for Yarnell residents.

Money - great and small - has come from a host of fundraisers.

The Arizona Diamondbacks raised more than $700,000 that will go to the 100 Club, the American Red Cross, Prescott Fire Fighters Charities and others helping with rebuilding efforts.

The 100 Club and the Yarnell Community Center will share a $50,000 donation from Toyota.

The Country Cares concert starring Dierks Bentley at Tim's Toyota Center brought in $476,000 for the 19 fallen Hotshots' families.

The Yavapai County Community Foundation set up two funds, the Yarnell Disaster Relief Fund and the Yarnell Memorial Scholarship Endowment. To date, these funds have topped $1 million, Tracey McConnell, grants and operations coordinator, said. At this point, the plan would designate $619,000 for the relief fund and $381,000 for the scholarship fund for mothers and children of the Hotshots.

A Coldwell Banker office and its parent company sent a $5,000 check to the 100 Club. Employees in a division of Dillard's department store passed the hat and collected $1,000 to help the Hotshots' families. Mountan Artists Guild collected $607 for Yarnell residents at its recent fundraiser. Three hair salons - one SmartStyle and two Cost Cutters - donated $2,500 to Hotshot families, and Windermere Real Estate donated $5,000 to the Arizona Credit Union for the Hotshot families. The credit union will match Windermere's contribution, bringing the total donation to $10,000.

Wells Fargo contributed $50,000 to the American Red Cross Black Canyon Chapter for disaster relief and $15,000 to the 100 Club. Kern County fire crews in California have collected nearly $125,000 for fallen firefighters' families. Bank of America donated to United Way of Yavapai County's to help both Hotshots' families and Yarnell residents.

Within days after the Yarnell Hill fire destroyed 141 structures in Yarnell, the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group of volunteers organized, set up a bank account for donations and thus far has realized $100,000 in contributions to help rebuild the town.

To help ensure children's educations, both the Arizona School Boards Association and the Yavapai College Foundation have created scholarship funds for Hotshots' families.

The Arizona School Boards Association has collected $10,000 so far, Tracey Benson, director of communications, said. "This is a long-term effort that we will be working on over the years," she said, adding that the association is in the process of setting up an online donation site to make it convenient for contributors.

The Yavapai College Foundation has received $150,000 for its scholarship fund for the children and spouses of the Hotshots. "We want to raise as much as possible," said Paul Kirchgraber, spokesman for the foundation. He added that Hotshot No. 20, Brendan McDonough, who survived the fire, is also eligible for education money from this fund.

Editor's note: Donations continue to come to the organizations helping the Yarnell Hill fire victims. Periodic updates will be published in The Daily Courier and at dCourier.com. If you have information about a fundraiser or a donation that the Courier may have inadvertently missed, please contact Karen Despain at 445-3333, ext. 2024, or email kdespain@prescottaz.com.

Related Stories:
• Photos & gallery: 'Country Cares' concert raises $476,000 for fire victims
• Country Cares concert honors Hotshots


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013
Article comment by: Jerry Hall

Let's give thanks that we have so many people and companies who helped in any way they could to help the families of those great Firefighters.



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