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Pat McMahon

Updated Jul 8, 2013 - 7:18 am

Blackened tears

Hundreds of people line Montezuma Street Sunday, July 7, 2013 in downtown Prescott, Ariz. to pay respects as 19 hearses slowly roll by carrying the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters killed a week ago by an out-of-control blaze near Yarnell, Ariz. The nearly five-hour-long procession began near the state Capitol in Phoenix, went through the town where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed and ended in the mountain community of Prescott, where they lived and will be laid to rest this week. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

I suffered long distance. I mourned past mountain ranges. My shock took only fractions of a second in response to an event hundreds of miles away.

I was in Northern California for the holiday week, when a friend, a former fire fighter in Phoenix, contacted us saying 19 men had perished in the Yarnell Hill wildfire.

I told my wife that while it was a horrible tragedy, he must have been mistaken about the number. I recall the loss of two, perhaps four in incidents over the years, but 19 was unthinkable. Those are the kinds of numbers that we read about with the World Trade Center. And then the national news confirmed it as a nightmare reality: 19 elite firefighters, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, most in their 20s, some of their ashes already a part of Yarnell Hill.

And even though I was in the Bay Area, I didn't lack for information. It was often the lead story locally and on the networks. But, I never got to know any of them or their families, until this weekend.

I'm not here to sell newspapers, but in Sunday's Arizona Republic there are stories on each of them. Read them…touch their pictures…and when you do, remember that paper you're touching is made out of trees.

I'm Pat McMahon.


For volunteer, fundraising and other ways to assist those affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, go to yarnellfallenfirefighters.com.

About the Author


He's done it all -- and keeps doing it. His career in local Arizona radio and television dates back the late 60s. Pat always stimulates with his thought provoking, opinionated, and entertaining commentaries on the Arizona Morning News while hosting award-winning talk-shows like "The McMahon Group" and "The God Show."

"The Mc Mahon Group" features a very unpredictable all-star panel where 3 people from the community get together and give there thoughts on the news of the week. He also hosts "The God Show" on Sunday's which talks about all aspects of spirituality.

Pat is also well known outside of radio because of his multi-faceted career as an actor, producer, recording artist, writer, broadcaster, and one-third of the legendary comedy team that was on TV for 35 years in Arizona, "The Wallace and Ladmo Show."

Through the many experiences of his professional life, Pat has been richly rewarded with 7 Emmys, major national and international radio awards as well as numerous civic, educational, religious and humanitarian awards. Pat was also a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Ottawa University, the Arizona Broadcasters Lifetime achievement Award, and has his bronze likeness hanging in the rotunda of the Herberger Theater in recognition of his contributions to Communications & The Arts.

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