My name is Juliann Ashcraft. I am the widow of Granite Mountain Hotshot, Andrew Ashcraft and I am blessed to be the mother of our four wonderfully rambunctious children: Ryder, Shiloh, Tate, and Choice. I grew up in Prescott, Arizona, and met the love of my life when we were just nine years old. The free spirits inside of us both led us on adventurous tracks that ultimately merged two lives into one on July 22, 2006. From that day forward, Andrew worked as hard as any man I knew to provide support, structure, and strength to our family. He led by example, he led with love, and he is the driving force that led me here to the Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute.
I have a background in business management and paralegal studies. I knew enough from my legal background to know that things were not being handled legally, ethically, nor morally after the Yarnell Hill Fire. From the onset of the investigation, a spark was ignited in me to know exactly what happened to my sweetheart that day. Our children need to know why their Daddy didn’t come home, and I will do my best to be his mouthpiece in his absence…large boots to fill.
Kids are amazingly resilient, and Andrew’s and mine have demonstrated strength in the healing process beyond that of which I have been able to muster. I’ve been battered and broken down not only by the tragic loss of my sweet husband and 18 of my close friends, but by the many unnecessary hoops we’ve been forced to jump through following this tragedy. The sting of loss was exacerbated by the cover-ups and lies, the judgment and ridicule, and the lack of support or closure that we so desperately needed. We were forced not only to go through the grief associated with the tragic passing of a loved one, but to conduct our own private investigation, lobby for changes that were long overdue in the wildland firefighting world, and work diligently to solidify the character and craftsmanship of our boys whose judgment and work ethic were put on trial as a result of unanswered questions.
I am honored to be a founding member of the Wildland Firefighting Guardian Institute (WFGI). Together with other family members whose lives were upended by the Yarnell blaze, we have worked to establish a support system for those who may unfortunately find themselves in similar shoes someday. This is a group you never hope to belong to because the cost is so high, but are immensely grateful for it when you do. Truth, Transparency, Accountability, and Change. These four legs to our foundation are the only way in which to rebuild a solid platform in your life after enduring a horrific line-of-duty loss. Our mission in WFGI is to buoy up our brothers and sisters who sacrifice their lives to protect others, and to carry those who, for a moment, are unable to stand.
We vow that no one who endures the trauma we’ve come to know will have to face it alone.
Esse Quam Videri