On August 5th, 2008, a helicopter carrying ten firefighters, a U.S. Forest Service employee and 2 pilots lifted off deep in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, providing what was to be a rewarding journey to end of their 14 hour day. The crew had just successfully and heroically defended a critical fire line in steep and rugged terrain.
Tragically, the Sikorsky S-61N aircraft crashed seconds after take off and nine people died.
One of the nine was the 19 year old son of one of my best friends and co-worker Paul Steele.
As you can imagine, it has been a difficult time for Paul and his family and all of us at work are doing our best to maintain Paul’s workload during his time of mourning, so that he won’t come back to more stress.
This has affected all of us. We are a small company and are all close friends.
David was a great young man. A model for the kind of child everyone would want. Fun, Life Loving and purpose driven. I hired him for odd jobs around the office, usually yard work, to help him raise money for college. He wanted to be a firefighter . It was in his blood.
As this has made national news, many of our clients who have worked with Paul over his 9 years with us have reached out to share love, prayers and thoughts during these difficult times.
Project A is over 18 years old and it has been an honor to serve most of our clients for many of those years. We have come to be friends with many of those we serve. It has re-confirmed my belief that we are more then just vendors to so many of our clients. Thank you for your outpouring of support.
Several clients have expressed interest in doing something for the family.
Paul has asked that any contributions be targeted to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation in honor of his son and in lieu of flowers.
Click here if you would like to leave a comment that will be compiled on a card and presented to the family.
Thank you for your kindness and patience as we work through these sad times together.
Our thoughts and prayers extend to the families of all the fallen firefighters.
A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, August 15, at 4:00 PM at Our Lady of the Mountain Catholic Church, 987 Hillview Dr., Ashland.
A community memorial is also scheduled at the Ashland High School Walter A. Philips Field on Saturday, August 16, at 2:30 PM, 201So. Mountain Ave, Ashland.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation who have provided much needed support to the families of fallen firefighters during this tragedy and others, WF Foundation, 2049 Airport Way, Boise, ID, 83705, www.wffoundation.org,