USA — The Wildland Firefighter Memorial was a gift to the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside in 2005 from Eagle Scout Richard Genck. He wanted to thank and honor Rick Lupe and all wildland firefighters for the sacrifices they make. Genck is currently on a church mission in Georgia, but his mother, Cathy, said it was much more than just an Eagle Scout project for her son. “It was horrible to watch the news and not know what was going to happen during the 2002 Rodeo-Chedeski Fire,” Cathy said. “All of the firefighters on that were heroes. They were there protecting us on a daily basis. “Lupe and his crew kept working to put it out. The burnout they (Lupe and his hotshot crew) did was a last ditch effort to save the town. They really are heroes for what they did.” “It was tragic to hear that Lupe died just a year later in a prescribed burn,” she added. Cathy said that is why her son chose to go door-to-door and collect donations from local businesses and residents as well as a donations from the White Mountain Apache Tribe for a statue in front of Larson Library in honor of all wildfire firefighters who have given so much over the years to protect the White Mountains. “The tribe was very happy to donate,” Cathy said. “They said it would be healing for them.” After enough donations were collected, her son searched for someone to build the statue, and again the community chimed in to help. Randy White of Northland Pioneer College generously donated his time to make the wax sculpture and get the ball rolling. After White completed the wax sculpture, Cathy said they sent it to Phoenix where it was cast by Arizona Bronze. “I would like to thank all of those who donated to this,” she said. “Rick Lupe was a good man, and he and all the wildland firefighters are deserving of this honor.” Lupe was also named the 2003 United Fire Firefighter of the Year by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Fort Apache Station.