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  • Writer's pictureJOY A COLLURA

What does InvestigativeMEDIA mean to Joy A. Collura? Why did she first venture to IM Chapter One?

My path that led me to InvestigativeMEDIA ...


My name is Joy A. Collura. I am 49 years old. Married my best friend with zero children. I have been with my husband since 1988.

Until the day Fred J. Schoeffler and myself pass on, we both committed to God and to each other through the thick and thin and through dark times, bad health, and Spiritual Warfare that this Yarnell Hill Fire Revelations blog will be our path and to get the documented TRUTHS out to the Public at Large.

We have faced more times of external darkness then one would like to admit to face in one lifetime. We know when we are getting somewhere when the attacks do happen and they can get so yucky for us both.

The academies and presentations / conferences are all a part to the journey. If people knew the tens of thousands of hours we put in all this and we both have placed extreme large amounts of our own monies to make sure we keep this flowing and going because "LIVES MATTER".

Fred does his part to get his family vacations in and I am tied financially to medical appointments and medical debt only but if I had extra funds I have my State / Federal Permit and Passes, I would get out and explore near a lake with my husband and our dog, Mae West. Mae and Lizzy:

What happened spontaneously Summer 2021 at the financial expense of another made up for all the years of regimen and redundancy. I needed that newness. I sure did. Another would be like ??? but all I have done is for others since this fire took place June 30, 2013. It was nice to get out and "live and learn" and experience a social life outside of fire. I still lay there thinking how did it all just happen though. ??? It did not happen where I am talking to the people daily or even much at all.

Yet I learned data and that was God. After hearing their YHF aftermath experiences were very similar to mine, I did not feel so alone in all this. Plus I got to have someone finally read to me a Louis L'Amour chapter - that is tops in my way of thinking. I was hoping Tom Nesbitt would be that person to read a few chapters. He has a kick ass reading voice.

I have lived in many of the Phoenix and its surrounding areas as a child/teen. I lived in Chandler in my young adult life from 1992-2005.

I had the best neighbors ever. I miss them greatly.

I then moved and settled in a tiny ghost town; Congress, Arizona. A town that has been a part of my life on and off since the 70's.

These are my links on Social Media yet I am really not much of a Social Media gal ( in person kinda gal ) but here is links: Joyous Kahula | Facebook

You can reach me by snail mail P.O. Box 572 Congress, Arizona 85332, no texts (old school) but direct calls and voicemails to

(480) 559-1971 and my email is:

I have had zero desire to live my life in any traditional way.

Meaning, I prefer to never "look for" or expect anything from external areas and just let life simply "flow", I set personal goals and I am not a "keep up with Jones" type of gal. I am for sure a straight shooter. However, when sick or tired I can go from hunky dorey to shutting down or even shutting one off (pause) but as my life unfolds my brain tumors / other health stuff also cause tiny moments of heightened irrational emotional spots so just stay away from me when I am tired or ill. Plenty of signals before it happens. Idaho Dan and Scott know exactly how to be around it. Learn from them. Yet I am for reals and genuine. I will get "different" if I see someone being disingenuous, hit a very sore topic, or lack of communication when there needs to be communications.

There is select few who know me deeply and long term. My husband, Tex Harold Eldon Gilligan (Sonny), one of the GMHS loved ones, Fred J. Schoeffler, one of the folks tied to the YHF aftermath and just recently I opened my life to build in knowing someone who I find to be quality yet I do not desire quantity at this healing phase to my life yet pray that person is in my life until I pass on. I hope they know my lack of communication surely does not mean I am cutting off and out - just trying to heal up right now. Plus some of the new area was difficult to process, I have to admit. It is stuff I never faced to my life. It's okay though.

My community, the elders and children are my everything.

I am an experienced housewife, turned "housewife hiker", and then a "student of fire" after an infamous 2013 Fire Tragedy that I eye witnessed and 19 men did die but Tex Harold Eldon Gilligan (Sonny) and myself came too close to dying that day, June 30th, 2013 as we were up on the Weaver Mountains with the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

We have been gathering all these years to figure how our lives were almost taken from us. We have that right even though so many have tried to change the truths of June 30th, 2013 and those who try to keep the sound bites locked on to the " heroism" only zone.

This is Tex when he was logging in New Mexico:

There was a Survivor on that GMHS Crew ( Brendan McDonough - Donut ) that has chosen to take a different path in life. He came close to speaking up to prior City of Prescott attorney, Jon Paladini, years ago.

However, there are people he has told his story to early on and I know those people and like I told Donut 9-28-19, I pray he one day finishes what he began to do and not in some 'made-for-profit' platform - just him to the public being raw and real. I also pray he makes mends and apologizes to some he truly hurt in all this aftermath of the YHF.

"It should have never happened." ... like I stated in these videos:

Our GPS Coordinates for June 30, 2013 are on this video, here:

I am training to be a Law and Fire Investigator with Forensic Weather.

My past teaching experiences were at the amateur level. In my young adult life, I had six years teaching a discipleship leader Youth Ministry training workshop for my church. During the time as a teenager, I had a really great Ministry teacher - Ben, pictured to the left here.

And in my adult life, I have taught rare life skills to high paid Government folks, A-list celebs, Closed-door quiet folks, veterans, homeless people, modern-indigenous to indigenous people, criminally insane, and internally scarred-up folks who faced a myriad of tragedies.

I am one of the rare people who lived in the fanciest areas (Arcadia/Biltmore/Lincoln) as well "in the hoods" from the West Side to the East Side to the South Side and the nearby town of the Metro of Phoenix, Arizona even the North side had the "Tre5th/Maryvale/Sunnyslope" gangs; yet I was never in any gang/clique/cabel nor ever a hoity-toity.

Instead, I showed many gang members to create "togetherness" versus disconnect and discords and violence. When I grew up in the 80's I interacted with appx. 150 different Arizona gangs. I did the same for the well to do society folks. I bridged "togetherness". Very difficult path.

I can tell you I saw them gangs as my "neighboring protection" from Authorities in the low income areas. You would have to have lived that to understand what I mean there.

In a Dark World, I like to teach individualism, Integrity, self awareness, empathy, critical thinking, and effective problem solving.

I am huge on bridging "old ways" to "new ways." Yet, it is most important for me to teach, that in an unfavorable, unhealthy atmosphere and environment, one is to avoid external influences and/or "pressures" that may affect one's actions of safety and growth of good ethical values while avoiding caustic and/or unsafe like-mindedness.

The older generation and children are the reason I awake each day- they have been my best mentors/teachers and friends.

What is one thing people are shocked about when they hike with me?

When I was healthier, I could and have mesmerized and captured a rattlesnake with my bare hands. It puzzled Frankie Serros as he watched me "live" on a hike back from Wickenburg as I removed a jumping cholla out of a mojave rattler from the snake's eye and middle scale between its eyes.

Many people shoot rattlers messing the skin up and that method nullifies making nice hat bands and belt bands. My old hiking prospecting friends; Tommy Maiden, Bob Hancock, Rattlesnake Bill and Tex Gilligan taught me a variety of methods as well as local Gas Station manager/ Old hiking pal Ronda Carne's long time boyfriend Brian Sheppard, but for me the easiest method is charming them and then grabbing them and choking them to death.

I then take my straight razor and quickly, upon death, skin it as all the meat and flesh seem to come off faster and cleaner this way when the body is warm; I then put the skin in my glycerin/alcohol mix after it is quickly and thoroughly washed/fleshed. I only use rubber gloves if I have a cut on my hand for safety and avoid-ability reasons but if you are not advanced in the experience and technique, be safe and wear gloves. I show another example below how to use VISE-GRIP IRWIN Original Locking Pliers on stubborn snakes or ones that muscles still move after death.

A dead snake is more dangerous than a "live" one because they cannot regulate their venom being injected. Besides safety concerns, it is important to know the regulations and have your permit on hand. Also know where you walk across land because some areas are restricted and some require a fee permit - Private Land, State Land, and BLM. Here I am skinning the snake to eat it when we were out pioneering the land:

It is important for me to clean the entire rattler quickly from its head to the rattles or buttons.

When pioneering, we always had dry organic buttermilk or brine seasoning so that we could wash and gut the snake. First, we put the bones in a jar.

There is one particular area where the smell is awful when getting snake prepped to cook. We then soak the snake in the watered down dry buttermilk before we cooked it in our Griswold.

I cook the snake much like I would fish or quail. It is the "desert" white-meat. To me it taste like frogs and turtles.

And if it rained or your matches got wet there is always the "under-your- hood" method to help begin your campfire as seen below:

wala- campfire:

We always gave thanks to the animal we ate, and no matter the Faith backgrounds of the people I met up with, we always gave the food we hunted the proper respect - even the inedible parts were respected and placed in locations of use for another may it be insect or bird or rodent.

I showed much appreciation and love and Praise to God for each moment we gathered to eat.

Bones or antlers were used as some useful tool for me later on after I whittle it into something. If for some reason I could not use them, then I would lay only "land" animals on the highest ground for kettling vultures.

I always shared to the youngest and oldest persons first, feeding them the muscle along the side of the spine because it is the meatiest, tastiest part.

If we had nuts, I would crush them into a bread crumb texture and after it soaked in the buttermilk than I would roll it in pistachio nuts or whatever nuts I had on me.

The side dish would depend on the elevation and region we were in, but always off the land and not store-bought.

I never hunted and killed more than what I was going to consume for that meal. God always provided me something. Once a person builds that connectedness with their hunt and kill, you will see the complex issues of individual "identity" lessen. It is our life stories that matter - no matter if it is a simple gooey ewey "cookie cutter" kind or rugged and hard - we all matter! Even the animals and flora.

My "Native" identity matters.

Life is sacred and should be respected and honored.

When you begin to see so many lives end too short or too young, you start to awaken areas within you and ask yourself???? I began with the goal of hunger today and to meet such goal I hunted and killed this rattlesnake and it gave me nutritional benefits of amino acids, calcium, magnesium and protein. It prevents cardio diseases and it is a great brain food.

Rattlesnakes have played a big role in my life as I drank Timber Rattlesnake ( crotalus horridus ) and South America Bushmaster (lachesis) venom to improve my lymphatic and health.

We need to respect the good and bad of each phase of our lives, and if one does not comprehend something then research it until it is comprehended all the while staying the course until that happens.

I was once the little girl at Lake Pleasant that had a Diamondback rattlesnake in my sleeping bag with me in it. I was the one that feared the very thought of a snake of any kind and nowadays I have learned the good in all things ... even the most dangerous venomous snake in the USA.

When pioneering in the most challenging environments of the deserts, and our only source to water was the scattered springs, rivers and waterfalls - you very much learn what you can drink and eat. Indian snake root makes for an excellent source for its helped me survive long endurance hike as it helps your mouth stay salivated and is excellent to have in your bag just in case one had a "surprise" snake bite. I keep that root, garlic, ginger and willow bark when on "pioneering" hikes as "must haves".

To me, there is no better living than just you and the great outdoors with a wool blanket cooking up your vittles on a campfire at dusk or dawn and exploring the areas all through the day grazing on desert finds.

I miss our times pioneering 2011-2017 --- Sonny taught me so much ... like he had me cutting up wood with an axe when he had a chainsaw all that time. See:

Sonny always took my humor and made it a reality ... I said I wish I had a teepee to go pee pee in and he the next day began to build just that even though he knew when we left we had to tear it down ... and as soon as we got to liking it we would get snowed in and could not even use it. it was great to have those moments, see:

Every camp site we made from stuff in the area- it was fun ... thank you Sonny for our 2011-2017 pioneering memories --- especially learning to make hornos and then making our own utensils and pottery to eat and as well eating from off the land versus store bought stuff was truly a beautiful memory, see one of the camps we made:

Most crucial data I learned was when we mucked or went down in the mines. He taught me all about the proper way to know "air quality" in an adit or mine shaft.

Sonny was shot by his dog and Sonny still lives to this day -

I am still curious how his pet tarantula was near the trigger? see:

That was a long winded BIO on me but I felt it was IMPORTANT to share that because it was all my walking and pioneering that got me the local label; Arizona Desert Walker. Even though I live in a subdivision, that is not who I am ... I am a natural born explorer.

some pics from my Zazzle moments hang up in my garage from when I use to walk the desert and I would sell post cards out of who God led me to from my backpack selection of pics I took in Arizona -*, see:

even Patti Jares did a write up at the Wickenburg Sun way over a decade ago on the Arizona Desert Walker and her adventures. Lois June Porowski, 96, made my backpack and nicknamed me the Desert Walker long ago and I am known more as that than my own name here locally.


Now let me take you to how my journey began with InvestigativeMEDIA.

Summer 2013, a man who did an article for the Phoenix New Times reached out to myself and Tex Harold Eldon Gilligan (Sonny) and asked to meet with us.

Tex Gilligan

It was to be an early hike --- John Dougherty (InvestigativeMEDIA) pulled up in his sandals and shorts on his motorcycle at the Yarnell U-Stow It Hiking Headquarters.

Fall 2013, I had these photos up on the wall along with other photos of all the media folks and ADOSH folks we had to meet and hike:

The Two Track Ridge:

ADOSH Investigators - Bruce Hannah, Sonny Gilligan, Brett Steurer

Sonny Gilligan explaining his account on June 30, 2013 to ADOSH Investigators:

(Old grader in the distance in photo above)

this is what we had hanging up on the wall:

given to us 9-15-13:

This hike / meet and greet took place September 15, 2013. A lot of locals knew this man, John Dougherty, from some Summer articles. We did not. We did not even know what InvestigativeMEDIA was all about. We were just too busy helping locals on the loss of their homes at that point and going to funerals.

It was a Sunday when John Dougherty met the Yarnell Hikers. Sept 15, 2013.

Much of the walk I had not a clue this man was a journalist even if he said it I did not "compute it" and what we all were corresponding about would be in any publication - never imagined that. Especially the videos you see on YouTube.

All I knew was John's wife may be able to pixel the "Mystery Man" photo for me. I had hope. Never happened - the follow through on the images. He arrived between 11-noon to the hiking headquarters. We talked briefly there. We took John to Yarnell librarian's home- Patti Rutherford's home to park.

We then went out on a friend's section near Acri's --- we detoured and showed him our "19" memorial rock pile.

We took him a longer way explaining all the areas where he stood and who owned it and then took him to the fire line. We spoke about our eyewitness views as we took him to all the spots on the Yarnell side. We spoke about this was not an accident- this was for sure avoidable.

However, in the entire history of all we hiked CBS Investigator Reporter, Morgan Loew, is still to this date the "only" person to cover all our ground plus other areas we wanted to make sure someone knew about ...

Tex, Morgan Loew and me

We had hopes in Morgan Loew but we learned his story was basically squashed on us hikers- he had some of the best footage and we agreed to hike the very long way if we could get a "CC" of what he filmed but he never did nor did Patrick send that footage - instead it was always some excuse of "why nots"- too bad ... my hope shifted away from Media at that point.

Sonny explaining to Morgan and Patrick how we had to bear wallow and slide down tall boulders June 30, 2013 to escape the area to the lesser vegetation- the Congress side of the Weaver Mountains. It was explained why we were up there - 6-16-13 I told some Congress prospectors to move their camp to some "cold belt" areas so we went up there to give situational awareness to people who were prospecting and enjoying a cold beer on a hot day in the shade areas of the desert.

then Fernanda Santos comes in second...

we showed samples of what it looked like with the brush and how we had to bear wallow our way through on June 30, 2013.

then John Norman MacLean for going the arduous distance on the Weaver Mountains.

This was the worst reporter ( photo down below ) about us the hikers and the actual hike in his article (Shaun McKinnon of the Arizona Republic who won awards, for "Alone on the Hill," published in December 2013.) and we asked for it to be redacted and it never was:

Dobby and Sonny, videographer and Shaun McKinnon

We showed John Dougherty where Darrell Willis exaggerated sections of the 10 foot high brush spots were at ...