|Birth: ||Feb. 15, 1984|
|Death: ||Jun. 30, 2013|
*The heroism and selflessness of fire professionals must always be honored and remembered.*
Andrew Sterling Ashcraft was born in Orange, California to parents Debrah Pfingston and Thomas Ashcraft.
At the age of 5, Andrew moved to Prescott with his family, where he would spend the next 24 years of his life. He loved his brother Thomas James (T.J.) Ashcraft II, and his sister Shelby Laura Pfingston immensely.
While growing up in Prescott, Andrew attended Abia Judd Elementary School, Mile High Middle School, and graduated from Prescott High School in 2003. It was at Prescott High that he met the love of his life, Juliann Crockett Ashcraft. The two were married on July 22, 2006 in Prescott.
Andrew and Juliann welcomed their first son Ryder Sterling into the world on June 4, 2007. As their family grew, their daughter Shiloh was born on March 21, 2009. On the 22nd of August, 2010 Tate Andrew, the couple's second son, joined the family. And finally, born on Andrew's birthday, February 15, 2012, Andrew and Juliann's youngest son Choice Crockett was born.
Andrew became a member of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots in 2011, and was awarded "Rookie of the Year" honors for that fire season.
He loved every second of his time on the crew and had dreamed of being a firefighter since he was a boy. Andrew was known for his contagious smile, his heart of gold, his genuinely kind spirit, and for loving his mustache. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Most importantly though, he was a loving husband, a tender father, and a friend to all.
Fighting fires may have been his profession, but at the core Andrew Ashcraft was a family man.
He loved the small moments of life. The 29-year-old father of four would carve out a piece of each day to give each youngster special attention, said his widow, Juliann Ashcraft. "He knew them individually, inside and out," she said.
There were dinners around the table to share stories, both happy and sad. Later, as the couple tucked the kids in, he'd give hugs and goodnight kisses. And every morning, after his 4-year-old daughter, Shiloh, would get dressed, she'd go to her father and say, "ta-da."
And he'd reply, "ooh-la-la."
Shiloh was his only daughter. The oldest boy, Ryder, is 6. Tate is 2. The youngest, Choice, was born weighing 4 pounds, 14 ounces eight weeks early on Feb. 15, 2012.
It's a birthday he shares with his dad.
Choice had been Andrew's nickname as a young man. While some of his friends may have gotten involved in lifestyles that weren't for him, Andrew made a "choice" to take another path, Juliann said.
But that wasn't the only reason they chose the name for the baby.
"They had told us to abort him all along the way,'' she said. Doctors feared his body had not fully developed. "He wasn't expected to live. But we made the choice to keep him."
Now, with Andrew gone, Juliann said getting to celebrate Choice's birthday offers a "tender mercy" to celebrate Andrew's life, as well.
Away from home, Andrew was an avid hiker, expert swimmer and outdoorsman. "He was successful at anything he ever did," Juliann said. That included being a good singer, playing the guitar and drums.
Andrew even dabbled in art, drawing on anything that was around. Even on lunch breaks while fighting fires, he'd save the napkin and sketch out the scene.
At Prescott High, Andrew was a leader and a good athlete, said retired physical education coach Louis Beneitone. He was a boy who became a great man, he added.
Juliann said they would have celebrated their seventh anniversary on July 22.
She's working hard to get through each day now, and said her sorrow is deep but memories of his passion for life and his sense of humor help.
So does her faith. "We're members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We were sealed in the Temple, and I'm hinging my life on the fact that I will see him again."
Juliann said Andrew would want people to be proud of the work by the hotshots.
"They did their job like they should," she said. "They were protecting their families and homes."
She hopes and prays their lives were swiftly taken. She paused. "I believe they're all in heaven looking down and saying, ‘We went out in style.' "
[Story Source and Photos by www.azcentral.com]
Yarnell Hill 19 ~ Answering Last Alarm 30 Jun 2013:
Andrew Sterling Ashcraft - Age: 29
Robert Caldwell - Age: 23
Travis Clay Carter - Age: 31
Dustin James Deford - Age: 24
Christopher Alan Peebles MacKenzie - Age: 30
Eric Shane Marsh - Age: 43
Grant Quinn McKee - Age: 21
Sean Michael Misner - Age: 26
Scott Daniel Norris - Age: 28
Wade Scott Parker - Age: 22
John Joseph Percin Jr - Age: 24
Anthony Michael Rose - Age: 23
Jesse James Steed - Age: 36
Joe B. Thurston - Age: 32
Travis Turbyfill - Age: 27
William Howard "Billy" Warneke - Age: 25
Clayton Thomas Whitted - Age: 28
Kevin Joseph Woyjeck - Age: 21
Garret Joseph Zuppiger - Age: 27
Arizona Pioneers Home Cemetery
Plot: Burial space W-21
Created by: Amy Caddell
Record added: Jul 01, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 113145453