The mother, father and sister of Kevin Woyjeck were moments ago on live television in front of a Seal Beach fire station expressing grief--and thanks for community support--over the 21-year-old Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew member's loss Sunday.
This morning came word they are not the only Orange County family mourning a 21-year-old loved one who died fighting the Arizona wildfire. A neighbor confirmed for the media that Grant Quinn McKee attended Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach. He grew up an only child in Costa Mesa.
Laurie McKee told the Associated Press that her nephew was training to be an emergency medical technician.
"Grant was one of the most likable people you could ever meet," she reportedly said.
The son of Marcia McKee, who still resides in Costa Mesa, had just joined the Granite Mountain crew after his 23-year-old cousin, Robert Caldwell of Prescott, Arizona, got him a job. Caldwell also perished in the fire Sunday, which Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called "as dark a day as I can remember" after being asked about the loss of 19 "brave" firefighters.
McKee moved to Prescott to join the crew and, according to Facebook, was a member of the Prescott Disc Golf Club.
Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby told City News Service Monday that Kevin Woyjeck was a familiar face to those in the department as the chief has worked with his fire captain father Joe for more than 30 years.
"Kevin was one of those rare kids that--sometimes at a certain age you really don't know what your passion is going to be in life, but Kevin knew at an early age that he wanted to be a firefighter just like his father," Osby reportedly said.
"And so even when he was a child he used to go on ride-alongs, and hang out with the firefighters. And his dad was also the president and the vice president of our local firefighter museum, and it was not uncommon to see Kevin there working with his dad on the equipment."
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That passion carried over into Kevin Woyjeck's teen years, when he became an LA County Fire volunteer explorer and later an academy graduate pursuing a career with the department, according to Osby.
"We spoke several months ago about that pursuit and how excited he was about his new job in Arizona and eventually that when we gave a test here in Los Angeles County that he would be able to join the other men and women here behind me to wear the proud badge of that of a Los Angeles County firefighter," the chief recalled.
Besides his parents and 16-year-old sister, Woyjeck leaves behind a 19-year-old brother.