Submitted by his Mother
Jason had 5 years with the USFS. Before that he was a Mojave Green. He earned an Associate Degree at Victor Valley College in Fire Technology taking every course they had to offer pertaining to fire. He was an EMT. From the age of 14‚ he was a Fire Explorer at the Adelanto City Fire Department where he did numerous volunteer works such as the Christmas toy give away to the needy children‚ the annual Haunted House‚ and the Adelanto Grand Prix. All during this time excepting every challenge that was offered with a determination of having to be the best.
He earned Honor Roll honors every year in high school and if he wasn’t in the top few of every fire class and Fire Academy in college‚ he felt he had failed.
He loved the outdoors; endurance hiking and climbing was his passion second only to firefighting. He also loved mountain biking and spending time with his family‚ me‚ his two sisters still at home and his grandmother. He had hoped to some day be a smoke jumper and had also expressed interest in getting his helicopter pilot license.
From the age of 13‚ he became the man of the house. He devoted his all in making sure that I‚ his Mother‚ disabled with Lupus‚ his sisters Brenda‚ age 16 at that time‚ Jody‚ age 8‚ at that time‚ and Crystal‚ age 6 at that time‚ and his elderly grandmother who lives with us‚ were happy‚ healthy‚ and secure. He lost his own childhood in insisting on taking on this responsibility. So much so‚ that by the time he reached age 25‚ it became quite a concern to him that he had not found someone yet and was heartsick at the possibility of never having children of his own as he truly loved children.
But all was not lost. He met the love of his life in a beautiful woman named Staci and for that last chapter in his short life‚ he was the happiest man that some of us only dream of. A sparkle in his eyes and a joy in his heart that could be felt by anyone who was near him. He now had his future‚ his life. The career that he dreamed of as a child‚ the best woman in the world that he planned to marry in October of 2007‚ siblings that were well on their way‚ and a mother’s illness that was stable.
It was now his turn… at least until the Esperanza Fire. Esperanza… means Hope.
Submitted by a USDA Forest Service Family Liaison
Assistant Engineer Jason McKay was one of five firefighters killed while protecting a structure on the Esperanza Fire‚ October 26‚ 2006.
Jason was born on December 21‚ 1978 in Virginia City‚ Minnesota. Jason was fulfilling his dream of being a firefighter. From the age of three‚ Jason knew that he was going to be a firefighter. At the age of fourteen Jason became a Fire Explorer with the City of Adelanto Fire Department. He began his training at Victor Valley College where he trained to be a Wildland Firefighter. He joined the Mojave Greens fire fighting crew where he loved ‘diggin’ dirt and makin’ water squirt’; this began his career with the Forest Service. He attended the Fire Academy at Victor Valley College where he obtained his Associates Degree in Fire Technology.
In August of 2006‚ Jason and his crew responded to a Medical Aide where they delivered a healthy baby boy on the side of the roadway. This experience was so exciting to Jason that he knew he want ed to have lots of kids. Jason’s hobbies were hiking‚ photography and he was truly a computer geek‚ but what Jason loved most in his life was his fiancee Staci. They were planning to wed sometime this year.
Jason is survived by his parents Robert and Bonnie‚ sister and brother in law Brenda & Aaron Zimmerman and their children; sisters Jodi and Crystal; Grandparents Alberta Reese; Robert & Hope McKay; Aunts‚ Uncles‚ Nieces and Nephews‚ extended family members including his entire fire fighting family from the San Bernardino National Forest.