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Body of fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot to return to SE Arizona for burial

Body of fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot to return to SE Arizona for burial

By Justin Schecker. CREATED Jul 8, 2013

MARANA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Arizona will continue to mourn and remember the 19 firefighters killed battling the Yarnell Hill Wildfire at a memorial service Tuesday morning in Prescott Valley.

Nineteen white hearses carried the fallen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots team from the Maricopa County medical examiner's office in Phoenix back to Prescott's Fire Station No. 7 on Sunday.

After Tuesday's memorial service, a hero's escort will return one of the fallen firefighters, William "Billy" Warneke, to southeastern Arizona.    

After four years with the Marines, including a tour of duty in Iraq, Warneke married his high school sweetheart Roxanne Lopez. Warnkeke and his wife settled in the Tucson area in 2008. 
 
Roxanne is expecting to give birth to their first child in December. 
 
Warneke fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a hotshot firefighter when he joined the Granite Mountain Hotshots in April 2013. 
 
Now the Tucson community is coming together to honor the fallen firefighter and complete a home remodel project he left unfinished. 
 
Volunteers, including firefighters and members of a local church, have scheduled a walk through Monday afternoon to plan the remaining construction. They're expected to get to work on the Marana home later this month.
 
A Border Patrol blackhawk helicopter will bring Warneke's body home to Marana on Wednesday morning. From the airport, a procession will move Warneke to the Marana mortuary.
 
There could be as many as 100 fire trucks in the procession, Northwest Fire captain Adam Goldberg said.  
 
If you would like to help Warneke's widow and family, there's a memorial fund in his name set up with Wells Fargo Bank. Donations can be made to the "William Warneke Memorial Fund 6638768264."
Justin Schecker

Justin Schecker

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Justin Schecker reports for KGUN 9 ON Your Side at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00. He joined KGUN9 in September of 2012 and spent his first year in Tucson covering overnight breaking news for Good Morning Tucson.