On Wednesday, William Warneke, one of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, was flown from Prescott to Marana, where he received an honorary procession and funeral service.
Warneke’s body was flown via a National Guard helicopter to the Marana Regional Airport, where it was then transferred to a wildland fire truck and transported along a 6.5-mile loop to the Marana Mortuary & Cemetery.
More than 60 fire trucks with accompanying personnel from various Tucson-area fire departments participated in the procession and funeral service, as did members of the Marine Corps, Border Patrol, and various police departments.
Warneke’s family rode in the first seven fire trucks, with his wife, Roxanne, arriving in the first truck along with Warneke’s body. Roxanne, 24, is expecting a baby in December. She and William were high school sweethearts, and married in 2008.
Warneke, 25, was a former Marine who served a tour in Iraq. He became a part of the Hotshots Crew in April.
Warneke’s brother Frederick, a Navy SEAL, was the only member of the family to speak at the funeral service. He said despite the fact he was the older brother, he always looked up to William. Warneke’s second brother, sister, and mother were also among the hundreds of friends and family members present.
See more on the service, and the community's support for the Warneke family in The Explorer's print edition on July 17.