WEST LINN, Ore. – The brother of John Percin, Jr., the West Linn firefighter killed in Arizona Sunday, said his sibling was “an inspiration.”
“He was so thoughtful in everything he did,” Matt Percin, 22, told KGW. “He’s been an inspiration to me – always has been, always will be.”
Matt said his brother joined the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots earlier this year and the Arizona fire was only the second fire he’d fought.
He last spoke with his brother on Saturday evening, the night before John died.
“He was telling me about his first day fighting fires and how exciting it was for him,” Matt said. “He told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him, too. It was nice to be able to talk to him one last time.”
Matt said John died doing what he was meant to do.
“He’s always wanted to be in a profession where he could go above and beyond and help other people,” Matt said. “That's really the life story of my brother."
John Percin, Jr., 24, died while fighting a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona Sunday with an elite crew of firefighters known as “hotshots.”
Nineteen firefighters died in the fire. It was the nation’s biggest loss of firefighters in a wildfire in 80 years.
John’s family will travel to Arizona for the memorial for the 19 fallen firefighters next week. The Percin family is also planning a local memorial for John when they return to Oregon.
KGW Reporter Katherine Cook contributed to this report.