BURLEY — Mini-Cassia Vietnam War veterans are still working to raise funds to repair and remount a Huey helicopter that toppled off its pedestal in a fierce windstorm in September.
The helicopter was part of the area’s only Vietnam War memorial.
“That memorial means a lot to us guys,” Vietnam War veteran Larry Cottom said. “We want people to remember that we were there in that war.”
Cottom, treasurer for Veterans of the Vietnam War Inc., said the helicopter is one of the most recognizable symbols of the war.
The surplus UH-1 Huey helicopter was given to Burley in 2001 to be displayed for historical purposes and to serve as part of the memorial to honor the people in the area who served in the Vietnam conflict.
The helicopter sits near the entrance to the municipal airport at Freedom Park on U.S. 30 between a Korean trainer jet and a World War II Sherman tank.
The helicopter was donated by the Army National Guard from Fort Rucker in Alabama. When the helicopter fell, the tail section broke and a replacement part will come from Alabama, Cottom said. The helicopter needs to be remounted in a sturdier fashion and painted.
The veterans have raised about $250 towards the costs. Cottom said they do not have cost estimates yet. The helicopter was painted about four years ago at a cost of $1,200, he said.
“To the veterans,” Chuck Driscoll, Mini-Cassia Veterans service officer said, “The memorial is an honor long overdue. When the Vietnam veterans came home there were no parades or honors.”
To the community, he said, the memorial recognizes those local veterans who served in that war. When the helicopter is remounted, more names will be added to the memorial’s plaque.
Anyone with names to suggest for the plaque should call the veterans service office at 208-678-3599.
Donations to the project can be made to the Mini-Cassia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund at any DL Evans Bank.