Juliann and her husband Andrew were married in 2006 they were about to celebrate their 7th wedding anniversary when Andrew, a member of the Arizona Hotshots, was killed, along with 18 other team members, while fighting a wild-fire in Arizona. Not only did Andrew’s death leave Juliann a grieving widow at 28 but his death left his four children, Ryder 6, Shiloh and Tate 2 and Choice 16 months old, fatherless.
Andrew had become a Hotshot fireman just three years before the tragedy struck, rising quickly to “lead saw.” He loved what he did for a living and loved the members of his team, as though they were brothers. As Juliann put it, “There was no outside work for them. They loved what they did to the point it was worth it to them being away from the ones they loved to save people and their homes.”
Both Juliann and her husband were devout Mormons and her faith has sustained her through the tragedy and beyond. As she tearfully described her ordeal she remembers her Andrew as, “the most amazing man, the best person I know.” She continued saying that he had a, “contagious smile and a heart of gold.”
As she tries to explain to her little children that their father is dead she knows they are too young to understand. A few weeks after Andrew’s death, her oldest child was waiting for his first tooth to fall out and when Juliann said she would help him wiggle it out, Ryder said no, he wanted to wait for his Dad to help him.
Here is an admirable woman. A woman who continues to show grace under pressure. A faith-filled widow and Christian mother whose courage is an inspiration to all.
May God bless her and her little children.