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Rescue pilot shares why he flies during Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Rescue pilot shares why he flies
Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-02 00:23:02-05

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A day to remember.

That was the mission behind the first annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D) at the Pima Air & Space Museum.

Instead of focusing on the planes, folks got the opportunity to sit inside police cars and fire trucks, and ultimately learn about what each agency does.

11 Agencies participated, and more than 20 cars were displayed.

KGUN9 talked to a pilot who participated in the event.

Milt Kennedy has been flying since 1994. He says his love for the job goes beyond soaring in the sky. It’s about helping his community.

“We don’t have time to think about the dangers. We just do it,” when recalling what he does in the field.

Kennedy has been flying with law enforcement agencies for about 18 years.

He became a part of the air-unit ‘Search and Rescue’ team in 2015.

He says he loves what he does: flying his chopper and saving lives along the way.

However, Kennedy says it can be very dangerous.

“Several years ago there was flash flooding in Tanque Verde Falls. We had like 15 people that were stranded on the other side of the water. Rapids all around them. And with night coming on they were potentially going to be exposed to hypothermia. So we spent all night extracting 15 people with a hoist under goggles. And when you go in a canyon under goggles and you know you’re six to ten feet on the side of the cliff with your helicopter blades, it can be precarious,” he told KGUN9.

Even though he risks his life to save others, Kennedy says he wouldn’t trade his job of service for the world.

“When you hear those kinds of stories, where your helicopter comes in and gives them that hope to survive, its powerful. It’s a great feeling to come to work and go out there and make a difference,” he added.

Kennedy says he enjoys participating in these events because he can really connect with the community, and teach them what ‘Search and Rescue’ is all about.