JACKSON, Wyo. — Last week, the Teton Interagency Helitack Crew was recognized for the team’s response to the Big Swamp Fire tree strike incident on Willamette National Forest in August of 2022.

While fighting the Big Swamp Fire in southern Oregon, a Bureau of Land Management Interagency Hotshot Crew member was hit by a fallen tree, gravely injuring him. The Teton Interagency Helitack Crew was called upon to airlift the crew member to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The Helitack team was presented with a plaque in gratitude for their service by Fire Director for Oregon, Washington and Alaska Alex Robertson on Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Interagency Helitack base in Jackson. Crewmembers Kenny Heidenreich, Evan Gerry, Kira Gilman, Jeremy Schuler and pilot Chris Templeton were recognized.

Photo: Forest Service

Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor of the Bridger-Teton National Forest Bekee Hotzee also recognized the crew’s bravery.

“I want to acknowledge your remarkable service,” Hotzee said. “In the face of adversity, you all rose to the occasion with unwavering bravery and professionalism. Your willingness to step up and assist during such a challenging and heartbreaking situation exemplifies the true spirit of heroism. It is often said that heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things, and your team has proven this to be true in every sense.”

Photo: Forest Service

Marianne is a Community News Reporter interested in community, entertainment and eccentric locals. She hails from California and loves podcast recommendations.