Helicopter Rides to benefit Williams Veteran

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There is nothing like the view of Colusa County from the sky above, and on July 31, 2014, a lucky few will get the opportunity to do just that.

As part of the special Concert in the Park honoring SSG Alex Jauregui, helicopter rides will be available prior to the event.

However, this is no ordinary helicopter.

Built in 1965 at the Bell Helicopter factory in Fort Worth Texas; UH-1H #65-09961 entered into service with the U.S. Army in June of 1966 during the Vietnam War.

The Huey served for over six months with the 25th Infantry Division in one of the most hotly congested regions of South Vietnam; serving for the purpose of troop transport, medevac and cargo detail.

The Huey was then shipped back to the United States where it remained in storage before returning to Vietnam. From there the Huey served with the 118th assault Helicopter Company, the 68th Assault helicopter Company and the 165th Transportation Company.

In July of 1970, the Huey was transferred to Korea where it flew with various units before being issued to the National Guard.

After 3,683 flight hours, the aircrafts military record ended in December of 1975.

The Huey gained new life in the United States and flew with the Anderson County Sheriffs Department in South Carolina before eventually ending up in a restoration shop in Olympia, Washington.

In 2010, the Huey was purchased by Michael Haus and Christopher Miller, who were passionately dedicated to the preservation of the aircraft and the mission of their Organization, ‘The 25th Infantry Division LLC.’

A steadfast example of American patriotism, the 25th Infantry Division LLC connects our combat veterans with its outstanding dedication to our nation’s past and present armed forces.

The 25th Infantry Division LLC is a nonprofit corporation based at Buchanan airfield in Concord, California, provides various educational and visual opportunities about the history of the 25th Infantry Division and the vital role the Huey played in the Vietnam War.

Today, the UH-1H #65-09961 not only serves as a historical testament to the Vietnam War history, it honors the many veterans who fought so bravely in combat.

The Huey and its crew regularly give rides to veterans, and participates in parades, veterans, and military events and fundraisers throughout the greater San Francisco and Oakland area.

Shortly after the Citizens for a Better Williams announced its special concert honoring SSG Alex Jauregui through the Homes for our Troops organization; Williams resident, Sylvia Spyres gave the word to her boss, Jim Miller at Pacific Valley Aviation.

“We had a vendor who was in our office asking about the Huey we were servicing,” said Spyres, “he had a son in the military and was asked if his son who was currently serving in the military could get a ride in it, during his visit home.”

When Miller explained the purpose of the Huey aircraft, Spyres had an idea and presented it to him.

“Jim was excited about the opportunity and gave the word to the aircrafts owner, Michael Haus,” said Spyres, “they then got in contact with Citizens for a Better Williams President, Andi Armstrong and started working out details.”

Pacific Valley Aviation will donate the fuel for the helicopter rides, and the 25th Infantry Division LLC, will provide the helicopter and pilots.

A limited number of tickets will be sold prior to the event, and a few raffled for a chance to ride in the UH-1H #65-09961.

All of the proceeds from the ticket and raffle sales will benefit the Homes for our Troops: Jauregui House.

On July 31, at 4:30 pm, the rides will begin Jones Aviation (5664 Hankins Road, Williams).

Tickets for a ride on the Huey will cost $50, giving an individual the opportunity to take flight into the Colusa County sky for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Additionally, two rides will be raffled off at a cost of $10 per raffle ticket.

To purchase a flight ticket, or raffle tickets contact a Citizens for a Better Williams member, or call (530) 520-0096.

“This would make an awesome gift for someone,” said Spyres.

Army SSG Alex Jauregui is a Williams native who has lost both legs, his hearing, and suffered extensive injuries to his right hand and forearm when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Sangsar, Afghanistan on April 8, 2012. Jauregui spent months in the hospital and rehab; learning not only how to walk again, but how to run on his prosthetic legs. Jauregui has the most incredible outlook on life and is an inspiration for us all.

Due to Jauregui’s injuries, his home was no longer adaptable; thus forcing Jauregui, his wife, and three children to find a new home. With the help of Homes for our Troops (HFOT), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is firmly committed to building homes specially adapted for over 1700 service members nationwide who have returned home with life-altering injuries post 9/11. HFOT assists Veterans like Jauregui and their families by raising money, and providing building materials and professional labor to coordinate the construction of a home that provides maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently, and mortgage-free.

The Citizens for a Better Williams and the citizens of Colusa County have taken the opportunity to help Homes for our Troops, by supporting Jauregui with a fundraising event to benefit Homes for our Troops, for the Jauregui Home.

The Concert in the Park will be hosted at Venice Park, starting at 6:00 pm, with the Road Crew band performing. Several local vendors serve up delicious food and drinks with all the proceeds benefiting Homes for our Troops for the SSG. Alex Jauregui Home. If anyone is interested in participating as a vendor or contributing food items to the cause, contact Noel at (530) 870-6712, monetary donations also accepted.

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Is the Owner, Publisher, Editor, and Reporter of the Williams Pioneer Review. Committed to publishing the news of our Community, Lloyd has been the owner of the Williams Pioneer Review since 2010. To contact Lloyd about this article or future articles, please email him at lloyd@colusacountynews.net