WEST LINN, Ore. (KOIN) -- A West Linn man was among the 19 hotshot firefighters killed in the line of duty Sunday while fighting a massive wildfire in Arizona.
Now friends and family mourn their loss.
"We were just shocked," said West Linn High Coach Ron McEvers.
John Percin Jr. was a graduate of West Linn High School and a member of the ultra elite Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew. He was honored at a memorial service in Arizona Monday night -- honored along with 18 other members of his firefighting team who died in that fire. They died when the flames overtook them, despite last-ditch protection from their fire shelters.
The 24-year-old Percin was a star athlete at West Linn High School back in 2007. Those who watched him grow up call him brave, strong and funny.
He was known for his smile and unforgettable laugh.
"He was just a fun kid to have on the team," said Coach McEvers. "[He was a] great team member, got along great with the other kids."
And he'll be remembered for losing his life trying to save others. His aunt told the Associated Press the 24-year-old was the strongest and bravest man she has ever known.
"He was what I call a scrapper -- an in-fielder, second base, shortstop, where ever you wanted to play him," McEvers said. "And whatever he did he gave it his all."
KOIN 6 News reached out to John Percin Jr.'s family Monday night. They are still in shock, and aren't yet ready to talk.
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