A massive wildfire tragically took the lives of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill area of Arizona on Sunday. Wade Parker, of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, was one among them. Here's what you need to know about the fallen hero.
1. Wade Parker Lived in Chino Valley, Arizona
One of the 19 fireman who lost their lives fighting the fire in Arizona was Wade Parker, a baseball alumni from Lamar CC Thoughts & Prayers
— Miguel Ramirez (@m_ram13) July 3, 2013
Parker, an Arizona native, grew up in China Valley where he resided up until his passing.
2. He Recently Joined the Hotshots
According to The Pueblo Chieftain, Parker, 22, had only just recently joined the Prescott Fire Department's Granite Mountain Hotshots. The Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHC) are groups of elite firefighters who specialize in wildfire suppression.
3. Parker Always Wanted to be a Firefighter
Family and friends say the fallen hero always wanted to be a firefighter. Parker went to college, but decided to pursue a career in firefighting like his father, who was the Chino Valley Fire Department's fire captain. He aspired to work for the Phoenix Fire Department one day.
“His dad being a firefighter and seeing all the good things he could do for people, that’s the way Parker’s heart worked," said his grandmother, Jan Johnson. "He always liked to do good things for people. You hear so much about kids that don’t do things right. Well, this is one of them that did.”
4. He Was Athletic
My friend's little brother, Wade Parker, went to heaven yesterday along with 18 other elite, hotshot firefighters... http://t.co/0wqPlmLl4J
— David Appelbaum (@DavidAAppelbaum) July 1, 2013
The young firefighter is also said to have been very athletic and played baseball in high school and college. At Chino Valley High School, Parker played shortstop and went on to play infielder at Lama Community College. Chino Valley is planning to hold a baseball celebration in honor of Parker on July 14.
5. He Was Engaged
The fallen firefighter was engaged and planned to be married on October 19 to Alicia Owens of Chino Valley.