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Williamson to hold rededication ceremony for Huey on May 12

Citizens in the area will celebrate the renovation of Williamson’s helicopter with a rededication ceremony set for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 12. The city’s Vietnam-era Army UH-1 ‘˜Huey’ that sits under the new helicopter pavilion was completely restored by local volunteers at very little cost to the city. Steps have also been taken to prevent future damage or deterioration. The rededication ceremony will include a flyover of a former Army Huey and a former Army Cobra Attack Helicopter from the same era. They will be flown by the Sky Soldiers from the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation in Hampton and will land at Alexander Memorial Airport where helicopter rides will be offered at a discounted rate following the rededication ceremony. One of the main volunteers who restored the Huey is a life member of AAHF – Bill James. ’They are an all-volunteer organization and they rely on selling rides to support their activities,’ said James. ‘The AAHF honors the men and women who have served in the U.S. Military and Army Aviation and dedicated volunteers conduct patriotic flying presentations, public helicopter rides, educational presentations and more.’ Bill James and Joe Stewart headed up efforts to restore the Huey, but many others were a part of the lengthy and well-executed renovation. ’It was totally serendipitous,’ said James. ‘I kicked the rock over and Joe heard about it and being a maintenance technician for 30 or so years, he jumped on it like a duck on a June bug. We were able to get everything back to how it would have looked in its day. The red and green navigation lights and the white tail light on the outside even work now.’ The two men found others to help them ready the Huey for paint, disassemble the rotor system, transport it to Delta TechOps in Atlanta, store it, find parts to replace items that had been damaged or stolen over the years and reassemble it back in Williamson. Some of the many volunteers include Todd Thaxton of Atlanta Air Salvage, Delta technician Mike Gentry of Williamson, Debbie Stewart, Delta technicians Tim Powers and Dave Keaton and others.

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