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NRB Members Bring Hope, Healing to Arizona Communities Still Grieving the Loss of 19 Firefighters

Disaster relief teams from Samaritan's Purse are working alongside crisis-trained chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team to assist and to minister to victims of the recent wildfire in Arizona that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters and destroyed more than 100 homes.

Radio Shine 90.9 FM, which broadcasts to the communities of central and northern Arizona, has also been ministering to affected communities, including Prescott, AZ, where they are based and from where the 19 young firefighters were deployed.

"Our hearts are broken with the loss of our 19 young Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters of Prescott," shared Sally Barton, Radio Shine's Station Manager, earlier this month.

"Their loss resonates through our community, our state, our nation. We are mourning and praying with the families – the loved ones who have lost a husband, a daddy, a son, a grandson, a fellow firefighter, a friend," she added.

It has been nearly a month since lightning ignited the wildfire near Yarnell, AZ. By the time the wildfire was fully contained on July 10, the fire destroyed 129 buildings and resulted in the highest wildland firefighter death toll in the United States since 1933 and the highest death toll from any U.S. wildfire since 1991.

Samaritan's Purse, which deployed a disaster relief unit shortly after the U.S. Forest Service reported the fire was 100 percent contained, has been helping with the cleanup efforts and sifting through the ashes and debris to recover sentimental items belonging to the fire victims.

"It means so much to a grieving family when our teams are able to recover precious family photos and other small, cherished items that can never be replaced," said Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham. "We search through the ashes alongside them and treat their belongings with great care. This is a tangible way that we are able to share the love of God with them."

Homeowners who need assistance are encouraged to visit the Samaritan's Purse disaster relief unit based at Heights Church (2121 Larry Caldwell Dr., Prescott, AZ 86301) or call 928-445-1421. The organization is also still looking for volunteers to help with the effort.

To volunteer with Samaritan's Purse, go to spvolunteernetwork.org. Donations to help disaster victims can be made at samaritanspurse.org.

Published: July 25, 2013

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