Michael Defer, 37 years old, passed away at his home during the early morning of 2/3/19. Michael was a beloved son, brother, uncle and boyfriend. He is survived by his parents, Mark and Anne Defer, his two brothers, Stephen (Ashley) and Matthew(Brittany), two nephews, Braxton and Bohdi, and one niece, Juniper. He also leaves behind his girlfriend, Kayla.
He was an accomplished and avid athlete all throughout high school. Michael graduated from Dobson High School and then The University of Arizona. Michael was very close with his family; often partaking in outdoor activities such has hunting and fishing with both family and friends. He was loved by so many.
A week after the tragic loss of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, Michael told his family he wanted to pursue his career as a Firefighter, and that he “wanted to make a difference.” He then devoted his life to doing just that. Michael began his journey in the fire service as a wildland firefighter with the Arizona Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a wildland firefighter for 5 years, and his passion for the fire service grew immensely during that time. In November 2017 Michael Defer started his full-time position with the Picture Rocks Fire and Medical District (PRFMD) as a Firefighter/EMT. Firefighter Defer was a valuable part of the Picture Rocks Fire and Medical District family. He was passionate about his career and he was very close with his brothers and sisters serving beside him. He was hardworking and eager to serve the community. He was always smiling and making those around him laugh. His sudden passing was a shock to so many.
The fire service as an industry, has brought light to the topic of firefighter mental and emotional health. As professionals we work in stressful situations and it often takes a tole on many of us. We are taught to look for signs and symptoms that may be present for those that may need assistance however sometimes they are not there. It is important to bring light to these issues so that we can help our brothers and sisters in their times of need. Michael will be missed dearly.