|Photo by Connor Radnovich|
The Granite Mountain hotshot team was killed while fighting a fire in Yarnell. While I didn't know any of them, I know a little about the strength and character I know in my heart everyone of them had.
During my senior year of undergraduate I was enrolled in a program called Innovation Space. It's a program where you work with real life companies and you invent products, services or other such needs of the company.
The team I was on worked with a flexible screen and we came up with the idea of inventing a thermal imaging helmet firefighters could use to navigate fires more efficiently. To develop such a feat, you must do your research.
The research became more than I could have ever hoped for. The Phoenix Fire Department opened their doors and hearts to anything I needed. I spent an entire semester in a fire house, doing ride alongs and they even allowed me to go through some of the training along with the recruits.
My experience during those 18 weeks was spent working with people who would do anything for you and it has stuck with me for the past eight years. I still have my turn outs, masks and boots hanging in my closet.
I am deeply saddened by the loss our state saw yesterday. Those men and women go through fire to protect our homes and lives. They were so good that other states called them specifically. They've battled blazes in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Oregon to just name a few. Bow your head to say a prayer for the 19 we lost yesterday. They are truly heroes.