Several hundred firefighters and family members of the firefighters killed in Sunday morning’s Stanza Fire accident gathered at the local elementary school’s ballpark for a memorial service at sunset. The service was done according to forest service tradition with candles replaced by glowsticks held aloft in honor of Heather DePaolo, John Self and Steven Oustad.
Heather’s brother and best-friend, Jeremey DePaolo, attended and shared words about her love for the Forest Service. He said she had two bachelors degrees and could have done anything, but chose to work on fire management and loved her Forest Service family. Also attending were her fiancÃ©, a native Karuk, and his mother. Other family members were unable to attend, but were remembered in word, thought and prayer.
Gary Lake spoke on behalf of the Karuk Tribe, honoring the firefighters who died while trying to protect Karuk ancestral lands. He offered Karuk tribal flags as tribute to the families of the firefighters.
The Twenty Third Psalm was read, followed by the traditional lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace. The American flag was raised, then lowed to half-mast. Holding glowsticks aloft, there was a moment of silence followed by the procession of the bereaved to place their glowsticks at the foot of the flagpole.