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Cedar City honors native son killed in Yarnell Hill wildfire

CEDAR CITY, Utah -- Firefighters and residents gathered with family and friends in Cedar City to honor Joe Thurston, who was among 19 firefighters killed June 30 while battling a wildfire in Arizona.

Saturday's event featured speakers who shared memories of the 32-year-old Cedar City native, who died while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire along with other members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshots based in Prescott, Ariz.

The event in Main Street Park also included a barbecue, raffle and bake sale to raise money for Thurston's wife, Marsena, and two young sons, Collin and Ethan.

Friends and family described the graduate of Cedar City High School and Southern Utah University as adventurous, dedicated and wise beyond his years. They also remembered his contagious smile and friendly demeanor.

A condolence letter from Gov. Gary Herbert praising Thurston was read.

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