Mike Rowe Returns the Favor to Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park

April 17, 2018

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, has 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, 3013. 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 to their work to help Wildland Firefighters across the country is worthy of this honor,” said Governor Ducey.

In recognition of the work the WFGI has done to support Wildland Firefighters, Governor Doug 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 November 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.”

Executive Director Black, Chief Darrell Willis from Prescott, family members and fire professionals from across Northern Arizona were present at the recording, which took place the week of January 15, 2018.

Due to the limited parking on site and to help more people experience the park, Arizona State Parks & Trails offers a shuttle service from the Arrowhead Bar and Grill, located five miles south of the park on Highway 89. The shuttle runs seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To view the show, visit facebook.com/ReturningTheFavor. To learn more about WFGI and the work they do, visit wfgi.org. To  help support the park, donate here.

"Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our parks and through our partners."

For information about all 35 Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Program and State Historic Preservation Office call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit azstateparks.com.


PRESS CONTACT: Michelle Thompson at (602) 542-7151 - Email: pio@azstateparks.gov