Firefighting Blackhawk Pilots Thankful to Blount County Family

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Blackhawk pilots from the Army National Guard, as well as most of Blount County, owe the Chesney family a huge debt of gratitude. Firefighting helicopters will collect water from any source safely available to them, and this week, that’s exactly what they did when they spotted the Chesney’s stock pond.

According to WBIR News, Larry Chesney said, “The helicopters started coming in on Monday. It would take the helicopter four minutes to get the water, drop it on the fire, and come back again.” He added, “We just stocked that pond with fish a couple of weeks ago, so I guess those fish are somewhere up on the mountain.”

Firefighting Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter dips a Bambi Bucket into a lake for water to fight a wildfire

Photo: Wikimedia/Michigan National Guard

While some people would get angry at what they could consider theft of their valuable resources, the Chesney family turned it into a chance to help. “We thought we might need to replenish the pond because it was almost dry,” said Larry Chesney.  “We ran a bunch of hoses from the house to the pond and turned them on full blast. They’ve been running non-stop since Monday. As long as they [the pilots] wanted to keep getting water here, we wanted to do anything we could to help.”

“We’ll definitely never forget it. When the helicopter flies in, you get behind a pole or a tree because it will almost knock you down with the wind and the water spray. I got wet and sandblasted at the same time,” said Hilda Martin Chesney.

Mrs. Chesney did laughingly ask one of the pilots if they did windows because the helicopters had covered hers with water and dirt. Their home resides on farmland that has been in her family for more than one hundred years.

Blount County Wildfire
Photo: @SusanSWhomever

Helicopter pilots with the 1-230th Army National Guard were blown away by the Chesney’s generous assistance.

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