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Arizona Views: Honoring the Hotshots

February 10, 2019

Waz Taylor has an affinity for the United States. From Sheffield, South Yorkshire in England, he visited Arizona about six years ago.

Back in England, in 2013, he was listening to news from the U.S. when he heard the word Yarnell. “I was just there,” he said to himself, tuning his attention even closer, he recalled this past week.

Sadly, it was news of the Yarnell Hill Fire and the deaths of 19 of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. He was crushed.

This past year he began calling and writing to anyone who would listen, proposing the renaming of Highway 89 through Peeples Valley and Yarnell in honor of the Hotshots.

Since then the concept has been a veritable hot potato — agency after agency, official after official saying it was a nice idea but they did not have jurisdiction. Even the Governor’s Office kicked the idea U.S. House Rep. Paul Gosar’s way, concerning this state route’s name.

My check of maps — printed and online — shows only that it is a state highway. I am unsure what the problem is; a call to the Governor’s Office this week was not immediately returned.

Undaunted, Taylor visited Arizona again last week.

He went to the Capitol, then made his way to Prescott. Wednesday’s edition of the Prescott Daily Courier included a photo of him placing pieces of granite from England on each of the Granite Mountain Hotshots’ graves at the Arizona Pioneers Cemetery.

He also planned to visit Yarnell and points in between.

Here’s hoping we get an answer soon about his proposal.

Tim Wiederaenders is an editor at the Prescott Daily Courier and a former Lake Havasu City resident.

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