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Heroes Among Us: An Evening with Brendan McDonough

December 7, 2017 @ 7:00 pm


(Press Release) Brendan McDonough was on the verge of becoming a hopeless, inveterate heroin addict when he, for the sake of his young daughter, decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Their superintendent, Eric Marsh, was in a desperate crunch after four hotshots left the crew, and seeing a glimmer of promise in the skinny would-be recruit, he took a chance on the unlikely McDonough. Despite the crew’s skepticism, and thanks in large part to Marsh’s firm but loving encouragement, McDonough unlocked a latent drive and dedication, going on to successfully battle a number of blazes and eventually win the confidence of the men he came to call his brothers.

On June 30, 2013, while McDonough — “Donut” as he’d been dubbed by his team — served as lookout, they confronted a freak, 3,000-degree inferno in nearby Yarnell, Arizona. The relentless firestorm ultimately trapped his hotshot brothers, tragically killing all 19 of them within minutes. Nationwide, it was the greatest loss of firefighter lives since the 9/11 attacks.

The tragic and compelling story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots is coming to the silver screen with the release of Only the Brave in October 2017.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as Brendan McDonough offers his take on the spirit of service and whose story of struggle and redemption encourages people to become their best selves, and to seek out support when struggling. This message is especially poignant as we call to mind not only those families whose loved ones are currently serving overseas in harm’s way, but also whose loved ones have returned forever changed.

Only The Brave

We’re grateful that Bill Lunn from 5 Eyewitness News (KSTP) will again serve as our guest moderator for the Q&A portion of the evening.

A portion of the proceeds of this event will help underwrite Beth El Synagogue’s Minnesota National Guard unit support initiative, directly benefiting the 257th Military Police Company, currently deployed to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Family members of deployed 257th MP soldiers can attend this event free of charge by contacting Sarah Johnson. For additional inquiries about the event, please call 952-873-7300.

Please note: through our partnership with Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Calhoun Village, we will have Brendan McDonough’s book, Granite Mountain: The Firsthand Account of a Tragic Wildfire, Its Lone Survivor, and the Firefighters Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice, for sale the evening of the event.


This event would not be possible without the generous support of our partners.

Corporate Partners:

Media Partners:

Promotional Partners:

Reception Underwriting Provided By:

Hodroff Epstein


December 7, 2017
7:00 pm


Beth El Synagogue
5225 Barry Street West
Saint Louis Park, MN 55416 United States
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