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.)