Veterans come together for Huey helicopter dedication

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(ABC 6 News) – The latest addition to Emmons Veteran Memorial Park is a Huey helicopter.

“We wanted something different that no one had around here, so we wanted a helicopter,” said Clair “Dag” Dagestad, a member of the legion who was instrumental in procuring the helicopter.

The group was emotional when they found out they would be getting a Huey helicopter as a monument for the park.

Mark Heggestad, the only non-veteran in the group, said he had never seen three guys so excited.

“If they were several years younger they probably would’ve been doing cartwheels,” said Heggestad. “They were just absolutely ecstatic about how far we’d come in such a short amount of time and the missions that we’ve accomplished. It’s no different than them being in the military when they get sent out for an assignment and they accomplish that mission.”

The group was lucky enough to get the helicopter a week before it would have gone to public auction.

“I call it divine intervention is what I call that cause it was a miracle we even got it,” said Dagestad.

The model of helicopter is considered the workhorse of the military.

“Vietnam and commercial places are still using them, other countries are still using them, it’s just a phenomenal aircraft,” said Dagestad.

This particular helicopter had a history in Vietnam and several other bases before it found its way to Emmons.

“It was almost like it was a welcoming home. It was finally our last piece of the mission is coming home with us,” said Heggestad.

The legion has more plans to add memorial benches, landscaping and a sprinkler system to make the park an even better place to celebrate veterans.