Exclusive: Sole Survivor of Arizona Hotshot Firefighting Tragedy Asks Why Not Me?


"...May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields..."

In the five weeks since, Brendan McDonough has been grieving in private and putting on a brave face in public, reading the Hotshots Prayer at a large memorial service attended by families of the fallen, friends and dignitaries including Vice President Biden.

He also appeared at a charity golf outing at Gainey Ranch country club in Scottsdale on Friday that raised more than $100,000 for the Hotshots' families and Yarnell residents who lost their homes.

Asked if he did all he could have, he insisted, "There's nothing I could've done besides have been up on the hill with them and someone else been in my position, to have been with them and died in my boots with them."

Incredibly, McDonough says quitting firefighting is "not an option. You don't quit. You just overcome."

And he is determined not to let down the families of the Nineteen, either. He has attended every funeral and visited each of the Nineteen's families.

"I can't fail them. I can't stop trying because I feel like they somewhat look to me because I'm the only one left," he said.

And when Donut thinks of their fallen, he gazes down at the inked words on his arm, which end with hope.

"...Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand."

To learn more about organizations helping the families of the 19 fallen firefighters, visit Prescott Firefighters Charities and The Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

ABC News' Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.

CLICK HERE to return to The Investigative Unit homepage.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The scene near the finish line of the Boston Marathon is seen in this April 16, 2013 file photo. Inset, suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are seen. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured.
Elise Amendola/AP Photo; Inset: Lowell Sun, FBI/AP Photo
PHOTO: The first explosion knocked down a runner at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
PHOTO: Pulaski Township Police Sgt. Chad Adam seen here in this undated Facebook photo, went undercover as an Amish woman.
Pulaski Township Police Department/Facebook
PHOTO: The Earths shadow is cast over the surface of the moon as a total lunar eclipse is seen though a Magnolia tree top in the sky over Tyler, Texas, April 15, 2014.
Dr. Scott M. Lieberman/AP Photo