Yarnell Hill Fire: Dustin DeFord, 24, was dedicated, devout - | WBTV Charlotte

Yarnell Hill Fire: Dustin DeFord, 24, was dedicated, devout


The pain and heartache of what happened in Yarnell is still fresh in everyone's minds, especially those who knew the young men who gave their lives.

Dustin DeFord, 24, was adventurous, devout in his faith, and always eager to help others.

"Very vibrant, happy all the time, active, went all out in whatever he did, whether it was church or in his other areas of life," said Pastor Tom Petro at Open Door Baptist Church in Prescott Valley. He said in the year that he knew DeFord, he could tell firefighting was in his blood.

"His dad was a volunteer on a small town fire department, several of the brothers were involved in fire work as well," Petro said.

DeFord's family tells us he has nine brothers and sisters, all redheads. Most of his family lives in Montana. Petro said DeFord was very active in the church and loved being a mentor to the younger kids.

"He and his brother were part of this group that would take them out on camping trips and stuff and teach them the wilderness lifestyle," Petro said.

Petro said DeFord moved to Prescott to be apart of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew, and though he would sometimes go to bible study a little scratched up, Petro never expected the text he got Sunday night from DeFord's brother.

"It said, essentially, 'pray for Dustin, the Hotshots,'" Petro said. "He said 'It doesn't look good.'"

Petro said he hopes DeFord is remembered as a happy-go-lucky young man, who died doing what he loved.

"I'm sure in one sense all the firefighters viewed it as serving people, helping people," Petro said.

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