July 3, 2013

Letter: ‘The finest people you’ll ever meet’

On Sunday, 19 of the elite 20-member Prescott, Ariz. “Granite Mountain Hotshots” firefighting crew were killed in an Arizona wildfire. Known for battling the region’s worst fires, they had recently spent weeks fighting fires in New Mexico and Prescott.

So, as a heat wave across the Southwest sent temperatures into the triple digits, they hiked into the smoky wilderness over the weekend with chain saws and backpacks stuffed with heavy gear to remove brush and trees as they fought the lightning-sparked fire that encompassed more than 8,000 acres, destroyed at least 50 structures and threatened 500 people in the small town of Yarnell.

It was the most firefighters killed battling a wildfire in the United States since 1933. The average age of the men in the crew was only 22.

Of the firefighters who all were part of his city’s fire department, an emotional Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said it plainly, “We just lost 19 of the finest people you’ll ever meet.”

My heart goes out to the Prescott Fire Department and its families. They have suffered a devastating loss, one that I hope our own community never has to experience.

Whether it’s a structure, a vehicle or woodlands, fighting fires is dangerous work, and the risk is well-known to the brave men and women who don their gear daily, 24/7, and battle the flames. And I, for one, am very proud of the men and women that protect us here locally.

The next time you see a fire truck headed down the road, lights flashing and siren wailing, say a simple prayer for these wonderful men and women. For each and everyone is truly a hero, highly-skilled professionals who selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of their neighbors and fellow citizens, many of which they have never so much as met. These guys and gals are my heroes, for sure, and without a doubt some of the finest people you’ll ever meet.

“When a tragedy like this strikes, all we can do is offer our eternal gratitude to the fallen, and prayers for the families and friends left behind. God bless them all.” — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

Barry D. Jennings


Text Only
  • Move carefully, but soon

    No one intended for it to happen. No one had any bad motives.
    But during a period of 40 years or more, quite a few people didn’t do enough planning, didn’t have enough foresight to see what all of the development in Dalton would do.

    July 27, 2014

  • Local school systems must bear costs of federal immigration failure

    No word. No warning. Little help.
    That’s what Dalton Public Schools officials received from the federal government when it dropped 30 Central American students into local classrooms last school year.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014

  • Helping with Book Blast betters the community

    The school test results are in, and students in Whitfield and Murray counties mostly improved from a year ago, mirroring or exceeding average scores of their peers.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mark Millican: Guns are already everywhere

    Though it happened over 30 years ago, the image is still vivid.

    July 22, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Former officer works overtime improperly

    Stephen F. Hall has pleaded guilty to theft by deception and falsifying a government record.

    July 22, 2014

  • Dalton council should seek answers

    Judicial elections in this area are usually pretty staid. In fact, they are generally nonexistent, since most judges run unopposed.

    July 21, 2014

  • Letter: Something to think about

    It has been better than four months now since Malaysia Flight 370 went missing. During that time we have heard all kinds of speculation, conjecture and opinions as to what happened to it. The only certainties to emerge are that the Malaysians fumbled the ball early on and there are some understandably distressed loved ones left to deal with their losses.

    July 21, 2014