Statement from Mike Wheelock on August 5th Helicopter Accident

Statement delivered August 7, 2008. For the remainder of the statement, please visit the Grayback Forestry Web site. We encourage you read through the comments and, if you choose to, leave your own.

We have been forever affected by the accident that occurred within the Trinity Alps earlier this week. I want to thank everyone who has helped to rescue and care for these firefighters. The responsiveness of all agencies and medical personnel has been tremendous… cont’d.


I Saw You Up the Mountain

This poem was sent to Grayback Forestry on Wednesday, August 6. Please scroll down the page for additional posts and comments.

My name is Gordon Campbell and I am the father of a wildland firefighter currently on the Ramona Helitack crew in the Cleveland Nat’l Forest. Needless to say the recent crash in the Trinity Forest has been weighing heavily upon me. So heavily in fact that I was moved today to compose the following poem. Please feel free to use it in any memorial service that may be planned for the victims of this tragedy.


I saw you up the mountain,
Walking through the haze,
In sooted turnouts dusty yellow,
Cast dark against the blaze.
I’m sure I did. You can’t be missed!
You are someone I know.
One I’ll never fail to see,
Where ever I must go.

It was where I fought beside you,
And then cried as you were lost.
Right there beside the memory,
Of what our fight has cost.
I know that’s where I saw you,
And it’s where I see you still,
All double-time and courage,
As we charge another hill.

I saw you at the base camp
With your cup, and yes, a joke,
And the rasping of your laughter,
Meant to wash away the smoke.
You were with me in the chow line
At the table saying grace
And I prayed like anything
“Just once, Lord, let me see that face.”

I saw you up the mountain,
And I’ll see you there again,
And in every place they send me,
Where the fire is, and then,
I’ll watch the plume rise upward,
As it lilts from star to star
Outward past heaven’s wild lands,
To where you really are.

Photo from Michael Reid via Zion Helitack. Taken the night of the helicopter accident from the air.

Tribute Ceremony

Friday, August 15 10 am - 11:30 am Lithia Motors Amphitheater Jackson County Fairgrounds Gates open at 8:30 For more information: (541) 618-2171

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