U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Ian H. McBeth
A GoFundMe page has been set up for one of three U.S. firefighters killed Thursday when their C-130 Hercules aerial tanker crashed while fighting the wildfires in Australia.
The fundraising page was created Friday to help the family of U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Ian H. McBeth, 44, who resided with his wife and children in Montana.
"Lieutenant Colonel Ian H. McBeth lost his life tragically when his C-130 Hercules aerial tanker crashed while fighting the wildfires in Australia," according to the text at the GoFundMe page established in his honor. "Though he will be missed dearly, Ian gave his life as he lived it, in service to others and his sacrifice will not be forgotten.
"Ian was a loving husband and father to three amazing children. Let us honor Ian's sacrifice by showing his family that they will forever be held in our hearts.
"This GoFundMe campaign is dedicated to the benefit and future of the McBeth family. All proceeds will go exclusively toward their immediate needs and the future education of Ian and Bowdie's three children."
Ian McBeth leaves behind a wife, Bowdie, and three children, Abigail, Calvin and Ella.
According to multiple media reports, Ian McBeth was a multiple-sport athlete at Wray High School in northeast Colorado, a few miles west of the Colorado-Nebraska border. In addition to participating in football and track, McBeth was on the Wray wrestling team.
While he was in high school, McBeth also worked as a ranch hand in Nebraska.
McBeth served in the Wyoming Air National Guard while a student at the University of Wyoming and later joined the Air National Guard in Montana, where flags were ordered lowered in his honor on Saturday.
Montana Gov. Jared Polis released a statement on Thursday night, "My deepest sympathies go out to the family of firefighter Ian McBeth who lost his life volunteering in Australia to fight the wildfires when an aerial water tanker plane crashed in New South Wales Thursday. Ian was a graduate of Wray High School in 1994. Rest In Peace."
Ian McBeth's father Bill told the Associated Press his son was "determined, tenacious and tough" and was the most "capable and competent person" he knew.
Along with Captain Ian McBeth, also killed in the C-130 crash were first officer Paul Hudson and flight engineer Rick DeMorgan, Jr., according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. All three worked for Coulson Aviation, a Canadian-based company which had sent firefighters and aircraft to Australia to help extinguish bushfires which have destroyed thousands of acres in the southeast portion of the country.