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Remembering pilots Milt Stollak, Rick Schwartz and Gordon Knight

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  • Remembering pilots Milt Stollak, Rick Schwartz and Gordon Knight

    Rest in peace brothers....!

    BIG ELK MEADOWS, Colo. (AP) - The charred trees on the hillsides
    mark their own memorial to the three pilots who died last year
    fighting the 4,413-acre Big Elk fire.
    "Isn't this a lovely place to be?" Jerry Guthrie, Big Elk
    Meadows fire chief, asked a crowd of more than 100 people who
    gathered Saturday to dedicate a flagstone memorial in honor of the
    men.
    Without the efforts of the fallen pilots - Milt Stollak, Rick
    Schwartz and Gordon Knight - Guthrie said, Big Elk Meadows, a
    community of 160 homes, probably would have been burned to the
    ground.
    Friday marked the first anniversary of the air tanker crash that
    took the lives of Schwartz and Stollak. They were preparing to
    deliver a load of fire-retarding slurry when the PB4Y-2 Privateer
    they were piloting lost its left wing and crashed into a mountain
    just off U.S. 36.
    Knight was killed 12 days later. The Boulder pilot was flying a
    helicopter, dumping water on remaining hot spots of the largely
    extinguished fire, when the aircraft fell from the sky, killing
    him.
    Susan Knight, the pilot's widow, attended Saturday's dedication
    of the 6-by-10 flagstone memorial, which depicts a slurry bomber
    and a helicopter above the names of the pilots.
    "There have been so many great memorial efforts," Knight said.
    "It's been a painful time, but I've got a lot of supportive
    friends and family members."
    Big Elk Meadows resident Gail Voorhies said she thought the
    stone marker, although dedicated to the pilots, also serves as a
    tribute to everyone who helped out during the fire, including
    agencies such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
    "We feel that we need to give back whatever we can," Voorhies
    said. "This memorial means so much to us."
    Paul Frysig, the memorial's carver and owner of Western Stone in
    Lyons, had planned to erect the monolithic marker at the Lion Gulch
    Trailhead, next to where the air tanker went down. The U.S. Forest
    Service denied his request.
    Instead, the U.S. Forest Service dedicated three trees planted
    in the men's honor at the trailhead on Saturday.
    Susan Knight said the plantings made for a fitting memorial.
    "They're something living and hopeful, stressing rebirth," she
    said.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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