By Douglas G. Wright, Scouting Coordinator
On Sunday, July 14, 2013 I conducted a Vespers Service in Camp Lawton, atop Tucson’s Mt. Lemmon. A Vespers Service is a worship service without a sermon and is designed with prayer, confession, meditation on scriptures, and more prayer. It was quite a moving service attended by 56 boys, including members of the Tucson Boys Chorus attending Lawton for a week of camping. The vesper service was dedicated as a tribute to those valiant and courageous fire fighters who lost their lives battling the 8,400-acre Yarnell Hill fire near Prescott on June 30, 2013.
Earlier in that week, I coordinated with Larry Coppock, National Director of Strength For Service, in sending 100 copies of the “Strength For Service” daily devotional for distribution through Prescott Fire Chief, Dan Fraijo, to comfort the family members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crewmen. As Conference Scouting Coordinator for The Desert Southwest Conference, UMC and member of Strength For Service Task Force, it was a powerful moment to pay our respects to those nineteen brave fire fighters. Looking over the beautiful landscape, those present might have noticed seeing a beautiful rainbow arching gracefully across Reddington Pass and the Tucson valley.
The fact was not lost that at this very spot on Mt. Lemmon just over ten years ago, we also gave a tribute of thanks to the many gallant firefighters who quelled the ferocious, Aspen Fire (which burned 84,750 acres for about a month, beginning on June 17, 2003). The fire was stopped less than a hundred yards from the vespers site on the south side of Camp Lawton preventing certain destruction to the entire camp. Due the heroic efforts of these fire fighters, many of whom were Eagle Scouts, we came away uplifted knowing that on this beautiful day, we had paid our respects to those nineteen fire fighters who gave of their lives in public service.