Garret Zuppiger

zuppiger_garret

  • Firefighter
  • Prescott Fire Department – Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshots
  • Arizona
  • Age: 27
  • Year of Death: 2013

Garret was born December 14, 1985, in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Greenway High School in Phoenix in 2003 and from the University of Arizona with a degree from Eller College of Management in 2008.

During his freshman year of high school, he was nominated for the People to People Student Ambassador program and traveled to England, Ireland, and Wales representing and promoting our country. As a boy, Garret was one of the youngest at that time to receive certification and sail Long Beach harbor in a sabot.

He was extremely proud and excited to be accepted as a member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots for the 2012 season, having no prior experience or background in firefighting. During his rookie season as a hotshot, he attended wildfire training school and was awarded the fire boots for being first in his class.

During the off months of fire season he was a carpenter by trade, which he loved as well.

Garret most valued his family, friends, and the outdoors. He loved to run, hike, fish, rock climb, travel, cook, and play his guitar for his friends and family. Garret was the most generous, giving, kind and hardworking man, using his everlasting abundance of energy towards always helping others, regardless of his help having been requested or not.

One friend shared a story that perfectly exemplifies Garret’s generosity. He and his new bride had moved into a home that needed a little upkeep. Garret learned the pair were going out for the evening and quickly went to work, digging up and removing old dirt and grass from the yard. When the newlyweds arrived home, Garret turned on his truck lights as the couple approached and unveiled a flower garden he had made for them. He thought it would be the perfect gift.

Garret was also an avid reader and a beautiful writer. He loved vocabulary and would try to stump his “Ome” by choosing a word he thought may accomplish that. Garret’s words and avid imagination touched the hearts of many as his blog “I’d Rather Be Flying!” was shared following his loss. In his blog, Garret articulately accounted his life’s adventures, including his status as an outlaw. Garret recounts, “I am, at current, an outlaw. I have been forced to go from town to town, to hide my shame…. It wasn’t always this way. The beautiful city of Tucson got me again. Tucson got me for jay-walking once.”

Garret had a sense of humor like no other. He was a free spirit and loved a great adventure. He lived his life by his favorite saying: “Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die tomorrow.”