Community Efforts Bring Landing Pad to Glasgow

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GLASGOW - After a medical helicopter had close call while landing on an improvised landing pad, the Glasgow Fire Department realized it needed a safe place for pilots to land.

"We had a call back in May, the end of May, we had a chopper pilot on Staff for Life out of the La Monte area. He flew in at night time. He was having trouble landing. Where we were had fences, residential areas, the school, and basketball goals," Glasgow Fire Department Lieutenant Larry Neville said, "He landed and we talked about making a different one."

Firefighter Jayce Olendorff said the obstacles around St. Mary's parking lot where medical helicopters used to land weren't the only problems.

"It wasn't available 24 hours, 7 days a week because this is a church parking lot and it's also a school parking lot. The students would use this for recess and whatnot and, of course, twice a week during the weekends and during regular mass this parking lot is full of vehicles," Olendorff said, "It's not a lit parking lot and it can be difficult to pick up."

The funds for a brand new helicopter landing pad doesn't come easily for a town of less than 1,200 people. Fire department members said making the pad took help from the whole community.

"We had a lot of cooperation from the school board and the fire board itself. Everybody gave the thumbs up to go for it and the community came out in full force and gave us all the help we could have ever ask for," Olendorff said. 

"Our local department and first responders approached me last spring," Glasgow Schools Superintendent Mike Reynolds said, "They really didn't have a secondary option in a central locale. The had inquired as to the possibility of the school being able to provide an area for a site. Obviously we visited in detail with our city mayor, our city officials, along with our first responders and our fire department."

School officials donated a plot of land next to the track, but the students pitched in as well. 

"The students did a great job," high school art instructor Megan Haskamp said, "We had a few days out here where it was really cold and really windy and the paint would fly as soon as you took the brush out of the paint canister. But the kids, they buckled down and did the work and they did a good job."

The students said they're proud of their work. 

"The Glasgow Fire Department gave us what they wanted and we used the computer and made the design possible," Junior Lilly Fuemmeler said, "Then [we] printed it all off and then we used the projector and we traced it on construction paper and then we laid it out and drew it."

Another student said they're not finished yet.

"[We still have to] put the yellow jackets because that's our school mascot so since it's in town, we have to put the yellow jackets on it," Junior Camille McMillan said. 

The project cost the Glasgow Fire Department about $7,000, but Neville said without the donated land and all the help from community members, the bill would have been more than $20,000.

Fire Chief Curtis Black said the helipad would have been a necessity regardless of when they completed it. However, he said it would have taken much longer to complete had the department had to pay for the entire project out of pocket.

"All the fire department members and the community came together to make this possible," Black said.