Jul 31, 2013 1:18 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Northwest Firefighters moonlight as servers for Warneke fundraiser

TUCSON - The pregnant widow of a fallen firefighter describes life without William Warneke.

Roxanne Warneke attended a fundraiser, held in her honor Tuesday night, where Northwest Firefighters were moonlighting as servers for a worthy cause.

They waited tables from five to nine at the Station Pub and Grille located on North Silverbell Road.

All tips and some of the proceeds will go to Roxanne and her unborn child.

Warneke was one of 19 firefighters killed last month battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Local firefighters and other groups are helping Warneke's family by renovating their Marana home.

Roxanne Warneke shared that she's pregnant with a girl, she'll name Billie Grace, after her dad.

As bagpipes played, Roxanne was surrounded by well wishers.

Firefighters traded their rescue gear for a server's pad.

Roxanne says she's grateful.

"Trying to cope and deal with one day at a time," Roxanne Warneke said

Community support she adds, is a reminder she's not alone.

"One of the gifts I received was at the funeral, and I had a firefighter wife come day and she presented me with an ax, and it was made specifically for Billy from her," said Roxanne.

Tucsonans were buying up t-shirts with names of the Yarnell 19.

A woman in attendance pre-sold her T-shirt to ensure she'd receive one. "I'm wearing it to work on Friday, and it just means, they're not forgotten."

For Roxanne she's looking ahead to motherhood. And looking forward to telling Billie Grace about her dad.

"Well the kind of man that he was, not just what he did. And the duty that he provided for his community and his country," says Roxanne, "For her to grow up with the same high morals and high standards of being an outstanding person, someone who can empathize and be compassionate to others."

The benefit raised a total of $11 thousand.


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