|Red Cross Volunteers, Jerry Chavez and Ray Quintana|
On July 5, 2013 I, along with three others from the Central Valley were called to deploy to Arizona. Bakersfield, Fresno and Tulare County Red Cross chapters working together facilitated the deployment of all four of us to the Arizona Fires. The fire had already claimed the lives of 19 Granit Mountain Hot Shots on Sunday June 30, 2013. ERV’s 3104 from Bakersfield and 3071 from Fresno were summoned by National Red Cross to Prescott, Arizona to support the Yarnell fires that had devastated the community by fires and a horrific tragedy of the 19 fire fighters who lost their lives in defense of that community.
The 19 firemen’s deaths are the single biggest on duty fatalities in U.S. fire fighting history surpassed only by the 9-11 World Trade Center terrorist attack in New York. It was an honor to respond with the American Red Cross to aid those communities in need, and to have been part of the memorial service for the 19 Hot Shots who perished. Firemen from across the country attended the memorial service and the proceeding funeral services for their fallen brothers. The Red Cross was asked to support and attend all these heart felt events to provide cold water to the masses, for emotional or psychological counseling, or just to give a hug to those mourning.
At the funeral of one of the fallen firemen I thanked a Fire Captain for his service. He in turn thanked me and the American Red Cross for our service and shared this with me, “With everything that’s going on, the one thing we could depend on is the Red Cross. Anytime we have asked you guys to do something it got done with no worries. Thank You!” This was a humbling experience that reminds us why we volunteer, to help others in their time of need.
Just another volunteer