Articles/Letters

Coors Banquet Teams With Wildland Firefighter Foundation To “Protect Our West”

Coors Banquet Teams With Wildland Firefighter Foundation To “Protect Our West” Regional Partnership Delivers 25 Cents Per Case Sold in July and August to WFF PR Newswire CHICAGO, June 30, 2014 CHICAGO, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –For more than 140 years, Coors Banquet has celebrated its special Western heritage and appreciation for the kind of old-fashioned values that never go out of style. This summer, the Banquet Beer is extending its support to a group of people who exemplify these traits. Through the Coors Banquet “Protect Our West” program, the brand will contribute 25 cents to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation for every case sold in select states in the Western region throughout July and August, up to $250,000. The non-profit Wildland Firefighter Foundation assists firefighters and the families of firefighters injured or killed while battling grass and forest fires throughout the region. The 25-cents-per-case donation applies to cases of Coors Banquet sold in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. “At Coors, we know the natural beauty of the west is something special, something to be admired and respected,” said Pete Coors, chairman of the board of MillerCoors and great-grandson of Coors Brewing Company founder Adolph Coors. “The Wildland Firefighter Foundation supports the modern heroes of the west, the men and women who risk their lives to ‘protect our west.’ I couldn’t be more proud to have Coors Banquet doing its part to help these amazing people and their families.” Coors Banquet will drive awareness of the “Protect Our West” program through radio, print and out-of-home advertising; digital and social media; public relations; and retail point-of-sale materials. Additional details can be found at Coors Banquet displays at participating retailers. Founded in 1994 after the Storm King tragedy in Colorado that took the lives of 14 wildland firefighters, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation provides emergency support to the families of firefighters who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty. “The Wildland Firefighter Foundation and the entire wildland firefighting community would like to thank Coors Banquet for recognizing the sacrifices these men and women make every time they battle our nation’s wildland fires,” said Burk Minor of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Using only Rocky Mountain water and high-country barley, Coors Banquet is brewed exclusively in Golden, Colo. About Coors Brewing Company Coors Brewing Company was founded in 1873 by Adolph Coors, who chose the Clear Creek Valley in Golden, Colo., for his new brewery because of the pure water in the nearby Rocky Mountain springs. The brewery’s original and most enduring beer is Coors Banquet (Coors.com, Facebook.com/CoorsBanquet), still brewed exclusively in Golden using only Rocky Mountain water and high-country barley. Coors Light (CoorsLight.com, Facebook.com/CoorsLight, @CoorsLight on Twitter) was introduced in 1978 and now is the second-best-selling beer in the United States. Triple-filtered smooth Keystone Light (KeystoneLight.com, Facebook.com/KeystoneLight) is one the country’s most popular economy beers. Coors Brewing Company operates in the United States and Puerto Rico as part of MillerCoors, a joint venture of SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company. Learn more at MillerCoors.com, at Facebook.com/MillerCoors or on Twitter through @MillerCoors. SOURCE Coors Brewing Company Contact: Scott Bussen, MillerCoors, 312.496.2969, scott.bussen@millercoors.com, or Kevin Thiel, Olson PR, 312.577.1754, kthiel@olson.com

Caring Award Congratulations Letter to Vicki

Vicki received this letter from her friend, and former Board member, Ray Quintanar, retired Director of Fire and Aviation for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service.

Congratulations on well deserved recognition. Some years ago when you saw, sadness and darkness for so many who had lost so much, you stepped out of a comfortable role to help them. By your actions you gave them light, you gave them hope. Your commitment to make a difference where you can is unheralded and is done with passion and humility. It is done in the background of CNN flashing headlines, of finger pointing and blame in a melee of anger, loss, and of pending repercussions. It is done quietly with focus on the families who cannot comprehend, speak, or accept the loss of one of their own.

That you even are considered much less chosen to receive recognition, may seem to you, confusing when your focus is on the survivors who often are afraid and not accepting of their loss.  You are the bridge that gives order and meaning during this time of no words of no feeling of no end. You give them courage. You give them “hope!”

You have earned your place among the legends and giants of the Fire Service as one of its finest leaders. You have and continue to give us all hope, something found in only a few, who are truly extraordinary leaders!

From me to you, thank you for your continued incredible and successful work!!

As Always, your friend,

Ray Quintanar

 

Two Miracles in Boise

Dave Rama, father to fallen firefighter, Daniel Rama, is quite the writer and has blessed us with this very special retelling of his experience in Boise at Family Fire 2007.  Please read the attached letter, Two Miracles in Boise.

 

Vicki Minor Receives Mother Teresa Caring Award

Vicki-Caring_AwardOn  October 5th, Vicki Minor was inducted into the Caring InstituteHall of Fame.  Vicki was honored along with Lance Armstrong, Founder,Lance Armstrong Foundation; Cathy Brown, Founder and Executive Director of Rainbow Days; Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg, Founders,St. Bernard Project; Kevin Shannon, M.D., Pediatric Cardiologist and Founder, Camp de Corazon; and Peter H. Thomas, Founder and Chairman, LifePilot.  Five youth were also honored.  The award ceremony program can be downloaded below.  (This article was the result of a 2 hour interview with Vicki that was edited for use in the program.)

This links to a letter from Ray Quintanar, retired Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service to Vicki.

Duckett Fire Community Support!

This email came to us from Charlene Rohr, a wonderful volunteer who is fundraising in her community where the Duckett Fire has been burning.

Good morning. Our new total for today is $1,796. I am still receiving more donations. I will be sending the money next week. I smile as I drive around town and see all of the bumper stickers on vehicles.

I wanted to share a short summary of my experiences. When my husband and I went to the tent city, we talked to one of the firefighters to find out about the foundation before we began fundraising. I asked, “What do you know about the Wildland Firefighter Foundation?” and he began to tell us a story about his buddy. As he talked he began to cry and stepped away. Jim and I decided that anything that could make one of the firefighters cry is worth supporting. That was the day we began our fund raising project.

Todd, our incident commander, told a story at the local community meeting.  He told a story about a previous fire where one of his firefighters was severely burned and was not receiving adequate burn treatment at at the local hospital.  Todd told about receiving a call from the foundation, “Have your firefighter ready in 4 hours and he will be air lifted to a Burn treatment center!”  This gave everyone at the meeting a real life example.

Thanks for giving me this opportunity to support the foundation.  I am proud to contribute to the firefighter family.

Charlene

 

Knights in Khaki Green

KNIGHTS IN KHAKI GREEN
By Michaeline Macy
Once upon a time there were mountain castles
Standing proud against clear blue skies
Surrounded by green majestic forests
Red-tailed hawks and eagles soaring high

There were knights who protected the forest
Valiant knights with senses keen
Brave and strong not in shining armor
Gallant knights all clad in khaki green

Then came a drought and the land was thirsty
Hot dry winds began to blow
An evil knight loosed the waiting Dragon
Breathing fire he set the woods aglow

Fearless knights rushed forth to kill that Dragon
The battle raged both night and day
But the Dragon continued his terrible roar
Breathing fire before him held the knights at bay

Then another Dragon reared its ugly head
And breathed his fire all around
“Join with me!” the first Dragon roared
“As one we will burn this Mountain down!”

Thick black smoke filled the Mountain skies
The sun turned to blood as the forest died
Woodland creatures soon had no homes
But the Dragons hunger was not satisfied

He breathed his fire toward the Mountain Castles
30,000 people fled their homes
Still blew the restless wailing winds
And the Dragon of Disaster roamed

The Mountain’s cry was heard from sea to sea
To kill the fiercest Dragon the land had seen
Their prayers were answered when from far and wide
Came knights all clad in khaki green

Strong  knights gathered round that mighty Dragon
And wounded him on every side
They

quenched his fire though he roared and screamed
Brave knights held fast as the Dragon died

As the skies cleared and the sun shined bright
The joyful Mountain began to sing
Praises to the knights who protect the forest
Gallant knights all clad in khaki green

 

The Beautiful People of the Patriot Guard

By Dave Rama

Patriot_GuardWho are these people and how did their numbers grow so quickly? In the past five years, this group has grown from zero to 230,000 members. They treat fallen heroes of this country with respect. They endeavor to shield the families of the fallen from those who want to use the fallen for political and religious purposes. They are male and female, loud and quiet, short and tall, stout and scrawny. They are witty and wise, and smart and simple. They know the words to the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful”. They display the flag properly. The Patriot Guard provides an honor guard of Motorcycle riders at funerals for fallen service members and first responders. When protesters appear to picket and shout, the Patriot Guard shields the families from the signs and the shouts by lowering their flags between the two groups or singing patriotic songs or revving their bikes to drown out the protester’s chants.

The initial impetus for the Patriot Guard’s existence came from the members of a half-baked organization called the Westboro Baptist Church. The members of the WBC apparently have only one belief, and that belief is that homosexual activity is sinful.  Since the majority of Americans disagree with that philosophy, the WBC has a problem. They gain attention for their beliefs by picketing military and firefighter and police funerals. Their expressed theory is that America is wrong to support gay rights, and these soldiers, cops and firefighters have died because of God’s anger with America.  How this tiny group of simple folk got a direct line to the opinions of God remains a puzzle to me. If there is a difference between this highly limited group and right wing fundamentalist Muslims, I fail to discern that difference.

Westboro was sued by the family of a serviceman who was killed in Iraq. The protesters disrupted the soldier’s funeral, and refused to allow the soldier’s family to have the dignity of a solemn funeral. The lawsuit reached the United States Supreme Court. The Court upheld the right of freedom of speech for the protesters of the Westboro Baptist Church. I agree with the court’s interpretation. Voltaire said “I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That soldier had carried out Voltaire’s very thought. The very best response to the issue of freedom of speech comes from former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey who explained that “The right to free speech does not include the right to be taken seriously”.

My wife and I are parents of a fallen firefighter. Each year we get together with other surviving family members. The past two or three years, the Patriot Guard has provided an honor guard to defend our right to honor our firefighters in peace. I am grateful for their presence for assorted reasons. They are everyday folks who are willing to help others keep their dignity and pride of family. They provide their presence for no charge to do something for others.

You ought to meet my friend Johnny (he and his wife lost two firefighters, a son and a daughter). Johnny is not a large man, but he has a presence that says “I really am not to be messed with”. On the occasions that we’ve met he has worn a hat with USMC, or Semper Fi, or some indication that he was at one point, and forever after, a Marine. When we talked about the Patriot Guard, his response was: “Why do we need these people to protect us? I would kind of like to have those idiots show up here without the Patriot Guard to protect them.” I laughed, and I understood completely. That’s another reason for my appreciation of the Patriot guard. I thank the members of the Patriot Guard, not so much for the protection, but for their goodhearted actions and

Thank You to Donor from Caleb Hamm’s Family

Caleb Hamm’s family sent the folks at Blacksmith Brewing this wonderful email:

Caleb_HammI want to take a moment and say thank you, just simple words, but your donation means so much to families like ours.

Our beloved son, Caleb Nathanael Hamm, just 23 years old and a wildland firefighter, died in the line of duty in Mineral Wells, Texas on July 7th of this year. He was a Bonneville Hotshot, based out of Salt Lake City, where he was set to start his senior year with a degree in fire ecology. We have experienced devasting loss and heartache, but with people like you who donate, it makes a horrible time just a little easier. The Wff sweeps in, and helps out with the overwhelming tasks that still have to be done, the things your mind can’t even seem to comprehend to get done. We are not a rich family by any means, Caleb’s father has suffered from a kidney transplant, so things are not always so easy for us. But when Vicki showed up to help, I can’t tell you what that meant to us. She was able to get our families in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Illinois up here for our baby’s funeral, and who knows what all she has done that we don’t even know about, behind the scenes, never taking a moment for herself or her own needs. I wanted you to know just how much your funds help, from a real family who needed it, and it was there.

Thank you from families like ours all over the nation.

Lynnette Hamm
Boise, Idaho

 

Injured Firefighter Finally Gets Surgery

I wanted to write you this letter to express my deepest gratitude to Burk Minor and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. In 2004 I was involved in a vehicle rollover with the Bitterroot Hotshots where I suffered injuries to my spinal cord. Since then I have had a number of reoccurrences while working because of the degenerative nature of my injury. I have had to endure the effects of my injury for 7 years with no hope of being able to live without pain and my frustrations over recieving care. I believed my only option for care was to trudge thru the endless workers comp swamp of benevolence. In Jul 2011, I suffered a severe re-injury to my spine that required surgery. I have been unable to work since and was forced to go on disability. I was getting nowhere with the Workers Comp process. My claims examiner wouldn’t return my calls; the recommendation and approval for surgery sent to the Dept. of Labor was unanswered for almost 2 months. I had given up hope that I would ever be able to get the care I needed to recover and be able to work again. I had accepted that I was going to have to just live with the constant pain and numbness in my extremities. One week ago to the day I visited with you, and you listened to me and told me that the WFF would go to bat for me and help to get results and resolution on the matter. You called me twice that day. The first call was for additional info. The second was to let me know that the WFF was able to push my case thru the red tape and my surgery and rehabilitation was now approved. My surgery went well and I am now recovering and beginning physical therapy this week. The pain and numbness are gone, my mobility has already improved, and I feel like a tremendous weight of anxiety and stress has been washed away. I feel tremendous relief. I have so much gratitude for the support and compassion you showed me. The doctor believes I will be able to return to my job in just a few weeks and I again want to say thank you for all that you and the WFF has done for me. You guys Rock!!! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Sincerely–William John McMaster

Injured Firefighter Thanks Wildland Community

Hello and Thank You WFF. Your generosity and show of caring and concern is much more than I am used to. I received a check and want to tell you how much we appreciated it. We paid a PGE bill that was 2 months behind and got a credit card back on track. This helped out soo much. We are still looking into other avenues of assistance in our area, but are shocked at how we recieved help from so far, so quick. Thank you again so much. In the past, when we were better off, we have participated in “fill the boot” drives, food drives, donations, and volunteered (usually durring holiday season). We enjoy helping local charities and supporting who we can, when we can. Be assured tho, that the next donations we are able to make, will be coming YOUR way. I truly am gratefull for what your organization does, and I thank you for helping the families more in need first. I felt shocked, relieved, grateful, and guilty, all at once, but I never would have asked anyone for help if I didnt have a way to fix it myself first. We wont forget this and will do what we can to “pay it forward”… an over-used term, under-used in practice. – Gratefully, California Firefighter

I Saw You Yesterday – A Poem for Fallen Firefighters

2008_memorial_wreathPoem written by: Jessica Koster

I saw you just yesterday
A tribute to fallen Firefighters

I saw you
just yesterday, when it was just another day
Nomex on,
boots laced tight, packs on right, and heads held high
We all lined
out with a nod of the head, and the statement “moving” from up ahead
I saw you
just yesterday, when it was just another day

Fathers,
Mothers, Sisters, Brothers, Girlfriends, Boyfriends, Husbands, and Wives
All alike
want to know why, but how can we ever begin to describe
That what
they see as being rough, we rise to the challenge and hope to be tough
I saw you
just yesterday, when it was just another day

Some claim
we are heroes, others claim we destroy
We just go
fight those fires threw all the sweat and pain
Fourteen to
Twenty-one days we can roll, with little sleep and a fire out of control
I saw you
just yesterday, when it was just another day

Over the
radio the tone goes out, we know it is time and soon we are in route
We hike up
the mountain with tools in hand
We come down
the mountain and back to camp again
I saw you
just yesterday, when it was just another day

We’ve kicked
back at times and had a few beers
We’ve
laughed in chow line, and joked among our peers
I will never
forget those many days, we took for granted and called each other names
I saw you
just yesterday, when it was just another day

We have
learned a lot over the years, we have befriended many throughout our careers
And as crazy
as it all may be, we have become a sort of family
I keep in
mind all those many times; you came to my rescue and saved my behind

I saw you
just yesterday, when it was just another day

I’ll see you
again someday real soon, though I will pray safe travels for you
I will miss
the times we spent together, the memories shared and the moments treasured
I saw you
just yesterday, when it was just another I saw you just yesterday, before your life was
taken away

NPS Honor Guard

Wildland Fire Honor Guard Serves at 30th Anniversary of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend By Jim Shultz 208.387.5215 November 03, 2011

NPS Wildland Fire Honor Guard members Gerry Tuzon and Jason McDaniel change posts. NPS photo by Barb Stewart.

The NPS Wildland Fire Honor Guard served with similar groups honoring the fallen and their families at the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland on October 15 and 16. This year, 72 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2010 and 17 firefighters who died in previous years were the primary focus. Saturday’s Candlelight Service and Sunday’s Memorial Service were the most public events on a weekend filled with opportunities for families and co-workers to remember those they had lost.

NPS Wildland Fire Honor Guard members stood vigil at various posts including the monument, the chapel, the 2010 plaque and the Presidential Wreath. They marched in processionals and recessionals and posted colors. This year they also participated in the Wreath Laying at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday. Wildland Fire Honor Guard members for the Memorial Weekend were: Gerry Tuzon, Jim Shultz, Rodney Monk, Jason McDaniel, Doug Kraus, Forrest Ford, and Justin DeForest.

NPS_Honor_GuardIn personal ways, also, all who came thought of the dead. No one from the NPS was added to the memorial this year. The names of two NPS wildland firefighters most recently killed in the line of duty are there, however: Andrew J. “Andy” Palmer, 2008; and Daniel P. “Danny” Holmes, 2004. Norman MacLean put it this way in his book Young Men and Fire, published in 1992. “They were young and did not leave much behind them and need someone to remember them.”