PUYALLUP — His name was Jesse James Steed.
Part of the Granite Mountain Hotshots in Prescott, Ariz., for more than a decade, Steed, 36, captained the unit for the past two years. Unbelievably, 19 brave men are all gone.
“I mean one person is bad enough, but when we have a group of folks,” family friend Tracie Jarratt said, trailing off. “I can’t imagine how they are coping down there. Having not just one family but 19 families to try and help through the process. It’s just a really large-scale … just a huge, huge loss.”
Jarratt works with Jesse’s brother, Cassidy Steed, who is a Renton police officer.
Cassidy raised Jesse after their mom died 25 years ago.
Though Jesse was the younger brother, he was always larger than life.
“Oh, fantastic,” Jarratt said of Jesse. “He was a former Marine. He spent several years in the military, great family man, married, two little kids, 3 and 4 years old.”
Cassidy Steed spoke with Q13 FOX News Monday night about his loss and his brother’s legacy.
“I’m just kind of numb and in a state of shock,” Cassidy Steed said. “I looked up to him. He was an outstanding man. He was a big family man and he loved his job. He definitely sacrificed a lot for his job, time away from his family, hours spent training to be safe at it. The time he put into it was really impressive and I’m really proud of him.”
While everyone else runs away from wildfires like the one burning near Yarnell, Ariz., the Hotshots always ran toward them, saving lives and property — no matter the danger or risk.
Jarratt created a Web site in their memory and as a way from everyone everywhere to donate to a fund to help the families of the fallen firefighters.
“I mean any place in the world, $5, $10, $100, anything. It’s not going to bring them back, but, you know, maybe it will help ease the pain a little bit, knowing that they’re not going to have to worry about their finances,” Jarratt said.
“They’re heroes. They died heroes. They were heroes in our homes. Heroes in our community. We all will miss him very much. We all consider him a hero, along with all the other men that died,” said Juliann Ashcraft, the wife of another of the fallen firefighters, Andrew Ashcraft, 29.
If you’d like to donate to the fallen firefighters’ fund, follow this link: http://www.gofundme.com/3gan7g