PHOENIX – The Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute (WFGI) has been recognized in Returning The Favor -- a Facebook Watch series. WFGI is featured for its work to champion firefighter safety through independent investigations, education, and real-life support for firefighters, families and the fire Community.
Mike Rowe, internationally recognized host of Dirty Jobs, featured WFGI and Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park on his Facebook Watch series, Returning the Favor. The show follows Rowe as he travels the country in search of remarkable people making a difference in their communities. Returning the Favor gives back to those who pay it forward with humor, heart and surprise. The most recent episode was released this morning.
The Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute’s founders, Deborah Pfingston and Roxanne Preston, are the mother of Granite Mountain Hotshot Andrew Ashcraft and the wife of Hotshot William Warneke. Both Hotshots lost their lives, along with 17 of their Hotshot brothers, during the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013. The tragedy was the largest loss of firefighter life since 9/11.
“The important work the WFGI does to remember the ultimate sacrifice of the Hotshots and their work to help Wildland Firefighters across the country is worthy of this honor,” said Governor Doug Ducey.
In recognition of the work the WFGI has done to support Wildland Firefighters, Governor Ducey joined host Mike Rowe at Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park to surprise the two women with donations for their organization, including a full-size bronze statue of a Hotshot from Big Statues out of Provo, Utah and $5,000 worth of equipment from STIHL Chainsaws. The statue will remain on display at the park’s trailhead.
“More than 36,000 visitors have come to the park since we opened it in Novem ber 2016,” said Arizona State Parks & Trails Executive Director Sue Black. “With the recognition from Mike Rowe and this statue honoring the fallen Hotshots, we know even more people will want to come to pay their respects.”