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Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Details Unveiled, Meet the Artist

The Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership has released the designs submitted by selected artist Deborah Fellows for the memorial of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots. The statue is to be placed at the Yavapai County Courthouse in downtown Prescott with a hopeful completion date of June 30th, 2019.

Memorial rendering, courtesy of Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership.

Memorial rendering, courtesy of Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership.

“It’s definitely the central location of Prescott and we are very grateful that the (Yavapai County) Board of Supervisors gave us the space on the square,” Prescott City Councilwoman and Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership board member Alexa Scholl said in a phone interview. “It’s an opportunity –especially those who haven’t heard about the Granite Mountain Hotshots or aren’t super familiar with the story–to really see it right downtown.”

“We feel like this location will be an everlasting spot to remember and honor the fallen 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots,” Scholl continued.

Fellow Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership board member Brad Fain added, “It’s the desire of the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership board to provide a place of closure, a place of remembrance, a symbol so that we don’t forget the sacrifices that were made and hopefully a place of peace for the community.”


Located on a 400 square-foot space, the seven-foot-tall bronze Granite Mountain Hotshots statue standing on a one-foot-tall pedestal will be designed to accurately portray what those men were wearing that fateful day in Yarnell on June 30th, 2013.

In order to achieve the most accurate representation, the partnership sent Fellows used hotshots equipment and a Granite Mountain Hotshots belt buckle.

Below the bronze statue features the Granite Mountain Hotshots Latin motto “Esse Quam Videri” meaning “to be, rather than to seem”. Scholl says when the call to the public was made for ideas, the Latin motto was a heavily requested addition.

Behind the statue will be two slightly bowed granite slabs with the names of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Meanwhile, the back of the slabs have an engraved photo of the iconic alligator juniper tree the Granite Mountain Hotshots saved on granite mountain mere days before the Yarnell Hill tragedy. Below the alligator tree photo is a bench designed to allow individuals to symbolically sit under the tree the Granite Mountain Hotshots saved.

Memorial rendering, courtesy of Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership.

Memorial rendering, courtesy of Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership.

Furthermore, Scholl mentioned the desire for nighttime lighting to be incorporated into the memorial. So once the sun goes down, the names will be illuminated and the statue will look like a silhouette of any of the 19 men-an effect Fellows wanted to implement.


“Anyone that goes by the memorial with a family member that died in Yarnell, that could be their son at night,” Fellows said in a phone interview. “That’s the effect that I wanted to have.”

Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Rendering

Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial rendering.

Fellows was selected out of 29 professional artists from all over the nation who submitted formal design concepts to the partnership. The number was then shorted to five semi-finalists who were interviewed and brought to Prescott to stay in a hotel downtown. The candidates were once again decreased to three and after another interview and trip to Prescott, Fellows was chosen as the artist.

“We’re really excited about Debra (Fellows) and about her design,” Scholl said. “ We really felt that her design captured a lot of what the community wanted, but also was something that would really fit into the existing atmosphere of the courthouse plaza.”

Deborah Fellows

Fellows, who briefly lived in Prescott according to her official website, has quite a bit of knowledge building and designing monuments around the country. She built the Inland Northwest Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Monumental 8’) Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington and the San Francisco Zoo Monument in San Francisco, California, just to name a few.

The more Fellows researched about the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial, the more she got invested in the project.

“When I spoke with the committee, that cinched it so I went ahead and submitted,” Fellows said. “These monuments become a part of the ages and I’m proud to be able to acknowledge the life of these young men who so vitally pursued their work for the good of the community.”


The hope is the for the memorial to be completed by the sixth anniversary of the tragedy. However, Scholl says the partnership will take as much time as needed to make the memorial perfect. During the initial planning process, Scholl says the partnership spoke with similar memorial partnerships, such as the one that commissioned the September 11th, 2001 memorial in New York City, who recommended the importance of taking the necessary time to ensure it’s done correctly.

When that day comes and the memorial is unveiled to the public, Scholl says it will be important for the Granite Mountain Hotshots families, the community as well as the partnership.

“That day will be a very emotional day,” Scholl said, mentioning the hope is to have as many Granite Mountain Hotshots family members join as possible. “As a community, we’ve really come together over this tragedy and so every time the anniversary comes around, it kind of brings up those emotions again.”

“This is what we have been working toward for the past four and a half years and so we’re excited about the design and artist,” Scholl continued. “It will be nice to see all of that come to fruition and to be able to celebrate and remember the guys on the day we unveil the memorial.”


Scholl said the foundation is now focusing on fundraising and has received generous donations from community members including one from the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe. Furthermore, Scholl mentioned Yavapai County has agreed to accept both perpetual ownership and pay for perpetual maintenance for the memorial once completed along with agreeing to financially assist with the installation.

More information about the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership can be found on their website.


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