Arizona unites to support educational needs of fallen firefighters’ families

In light of the tragic loss of Prescott’s Granite Mountain Hotshots, organizations across Arizona have partnered to provide educational assistance and support for the children and spouses of the Yarnell 19.

Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona each has a tuition waiver in place for children and spouses of fallen firefighters as per Arizona Revised Statute 15-1808.

“Like all Arizonans, we mourn the loss of the 19 brave firefighters,” said David Bousquet, NAU senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “We know that nothing can ever replace those who have been lost, but we hope that through the tuition waiver, the state’s public universities can provide some sense of security for each of the families. Together with the establishment of other scholarship funds, we can put our resources to use for the firefighters’ families.”

Significant philanthropic support has been provided from NAU’s non-profit partners. The Yarnell Memorial Scholarship Endowment was established through the Arizona Community Foundation with a lead gift of $100,000 from Helios Educational Foundation. The endowment will provide tuition scholarships and will help with education-related expenses for the children of the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and other fallen firefighters. The foundation’s goal is for the fund to grow to $1 million over the next 12 to 16 years, at which time most of the children will be old enough to apply for college scholarships.

Additional funds have also been set up to meet the full-range of educational needs for the Hotshots’ families. On Monday, a statewide community giving effort launched the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Educational Fund to assist with education-related expenses throughout the children’s school-age years. The Yavapai College Foundation also created the Granite Mountain Hotshots Scholarship Fund that will provide scholarships for the children and spouses of the fallen firefighters.

Helios’ commitment to post-secondary educational success has long been evident at NAU. Among other contributions, the organization has invested more than $1.5 million in support of NAU initiatives such as NAUTeach, a program that trains mathematics and science teachers with the goal of increasing quality science instruction in K-12 schools.