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Funeral Held For 10 Family Members Killed In Payson Flash Flood

A group funeral was held Tuesday for 10 family members who were killed in a flash flood near Payson on July 15. Three generations of family had been celebrating a birthday at a popular swimming hole when a wall of water swept through.

At St. Patrick Catholic Community church in Scottsdale, Father Eric Tellez described the Valley family’s kindness, their work ethic and their love of food. Almost all the pews were filled, many with people wearing white shirts bearing photos of the loved ones they lost. Father Tellez spoke of the grace of the surviving family members, who have made a point to thank the community and search and rescue crews.

“This family reminds us to be grateful, even at the saddest part of our lives,” Tellez said.

At the ceremony’s end, people clapped and cried as each white casket rolled by. They clapped for Selia, Maribel, Erika, Javier, Jonathan, Maria, Hector Miguel, Daniel, Mia and Emily.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.