OC Firefighters Head to Arizona to Honor Fallen Brethren

By Hetty Chang
|  Wednesday, Jul 3, 2013  |  Updated 8:35 PM PDT
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Chris Concepcion, of the Orange County Fire Authority, will join his band members as they travel with the Pipes and Drums and Honor Guard to play the bagpipes at a memorial ceremony for 19 men -- most of them in their 20s -- who were killed while battling an Arizona wildfire.. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 3, 2013.

Hetty Chang

Chris Concepcion, of the Orange County Fire Authority, will join his band members as they travel with the Pipes and Drums and Honor Guard to play the bagpipes at a memorial ceremony for 19 men -- most of them in their 20s -- who were killed while battling an Arizona wildfire.. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 3, 2013.

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Dozens of Orange County firefighters are set to take part in next week’s official memorial service in Arizona for 19 firefighters killed while battling the Yarnell Fire.

"Anytime something like this happens, the fire service is a very close knit family," said Kris Concepcion, a long-time member of the Orange County Fire Authority Pipes and Drums and Honor Guard, which was founded in 1997.

"It's such an honor to be able to do this," he added.

The group, just last month, performed during the memorial service for four fallen firefighters in Houston. Much like that service, the families of the 19 firefighters will be front and center at the memorial service in Arizona, scheduled for next week.

Among them will be Capt. Joe Woyjeck, whose 21-year-old son, Kevin, was the youngest victim. During his recent trip to Arizona, he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

"I actually talked with some of the people putting the flags out. I asked, 'Do you have family?' They said 'No,'" Woyjeck said. "I gave them a hug and thanked them for coming out and helping support that."

Orange County firefighters will be among those supporting the grieving families.

"You're playing the bagpipes and right in front of you is the widow and the children," Concepcion said. "That is very, very difficult."

One charter bus has been ordered so far, but, according to Concepcion, so many people want to join the trip, a second bus may be needed.

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