A massive wildfire tragically took the lives of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill area of Arizona on Sunday. John Percin, of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, was one among them. Here’s what you need to know about the fallen hero.
1. He’s From West Linn
John Percin, 24, is orignially from West Linn, Oregon.
2. He Recently Joined the Hotshots
His brother, Matt Percin, said the fallen firefighter only just joined the Granite Mountain Hotshots earlier this year and the Arizona fire was the second fire he’d fought. He last talked to his brother the night before John died.
“He was telling me about his first day fighting fires and how exciting it was for him,” Matt said. “He told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him, too. It was nice to be able to talk to him one last time.”
3. He Was an Inspiration to His Brother
“He was so thoughtful in everything he did,” Matt said. “He’s been an inspiration to me – always has been, always will be. He’s always wanted to be in a profession where he could go above and beyond and help other people. That’s really the life story of my brother.”
4. He Never Hesitated to Put Others Before Himself
“John was a brave and courageous man who never hesitated to put others before himself,” his family wrote in a statement. “He was loved by many, and he will always be remembered. He is an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of his fallen brothers and their families”
5. He Was a Star Athlete in High School
Percin was a star athlete at West Linn High School back in 2007.
“He was just a fun kid to have on the team,” said Coach McEvers. “He was a great team member, got along great with the other kids. He was what I call a scrapper — an in-fielder, second base, shortstop, where ever you wanted to play him. And whatever he did he gave it his all.”
“Johnny was a very, very good athlete,” said Mark Neil, who coached Percin in grade school basketball. “He was very competitive and very coachable.”