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Sole survivor of Ariz. Hotshot crew still healing

Brendan McDonough is working to raise funds and awareness about wildland firefighters who deal with PTSD


PRESCOTT, Ariz. — The Lone Survivor and the Granite Mountain Hotshot number 20 are two of the nicknames that Brendan McDonough received after he survived and 19 of his hotshot brothers perished in the Yarnell Hill wildfire.

McDonough continues to cope and deal with the reality that he lost 19 brothers last June and that he was the only one to survive that fateful day. It’s a tragedy that hit his heart 19 different ways but also taught the 22-year-old to make the most out of every day.

“You never think it’s going to be you,” he said. “There are mornings where I wake up and the first thing on my mind is that I lost 19 brothers. There are days I don’t want to get up.” McDonough never received training on how to deal with losing brothers during a fire and every day for the past year he has worked to overcome the challenges he has faced.

Full story: Lone survivor of Granite Mountain Hotshots speaks about how he wants to make a difference