President's response to PC about role in the aftermath of the Yarnell fire tragedy
Dear Prescott College Community,
I am writing today to let you know the role our college played in the firefighter tragedy’s aftermath. Since July 4, our student housing, “The Village,” served as safe and quiet housing for the families and extended families of the 19 fallen firefighters as well as some of the honor guard and hotshots from around the country. We had about 120 adults and 5 children stay with us; 11 of the 13 Village units and 3 of the 8 Cottage units were used for this mission. We extended the offer because we know the village is off the beaten path and would provide quiet space for families to be together without media attention. For that reason, we did not publicize their presence in our dorms. Immense kudos to Bill Barton and Shar Jenniges for the outstanding logistical and physical work they and their staff did in accommodating so many people so graciously.
Our café provided food not only for the families staying in the Village, but also for the entire Incident Command. Several Disaster Relief Organizations took over the kitchen (with Mark Montague’s blessing) and prepared food—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—for over 100 people daily from July 4 through last Tuesday. We also housed the food workers in our cottages.
Students in our Counseling Psychology program (MAP) initiated a prayer flag project at the memorial outside Prescott Fire Station #7, and were amazed at how many people took advantage of the opportunity to create flags to place on the memorial. These acts helped many manage their grief. If you drive by the memorial on Sixth Street, you can see the flags.
Last, but certainly not least, Sue Felan, Bob Kellerman, Matt Lowry and Doug Hulmes spent the day using our vans to drive the families and the honor guard to the funeral destinations. They all had a long day; one drove for 16 hours.
I would be remiss if I didn’t especially thank Brian Sajko for serving as point person for this operation. He coordinated with the City and the federal emergency personnel to make this mission go as smoothly as possible.
I’m sure I have missed naming some of the people who helped, but it was surely a combined effort of many. I am proud to be part of a College that contributed so quietly (necessarily) but so importantly and compassionately to help those in such need.
Thank you all.
Kristin Kristin R. Woolever
President Prescott College
220 Grove Avenue
Prescott, AZ 86305