Flying modern day heroes - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Flying modern day heroes

By Ryan Houston - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) –Air Evac Safe team operates the world's largest fleet. Since their start they've safely transported over 200,000 critically injured people.

We spoke to one of their pilots, who believes his 20 years in the Marine Corps prepared him for saving lives.

Don Heironiums worked as a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. During that time, he learned everything they're is to know about saving lives. But he doesn't think of himself as a Hero-more like a side kick to the paramedics.

Air Evac has one mission: save lives.  "It allows us to get the patient where they need to go quicker than if we were on the ground," said Base Pilot Supervisor Don Heironiums. 

Air Evac is a team that provides emergency helicopter service to anyone within a 70 mile radius. You can call them "Modern day heroes. "I don't consider myself a hero. If there's heroes on board it's the medical crew who sit in the back.They're the one's taking care of the patients," he said.

His last name isn't that easy to say, so people call him "Don Hero" for short. Being familiar with life and death situations comes with the job. He's a marine who fought in two wars, serving our country. "This one is not more hectic, but it's more rewarding at this stage in my life," said Hero. 

Everything he's learned in the U.S. Marine Corps has prepared him for take off. "Training in the Marine Corps is very similar to what we do here. In terms of day and night operations and flying at low altitudes," said Hero. 

When they first started 25 years ago, they dedicated themselves to serving rural communities.  "Primarily we request the latitude and longitude. If they don't give it, we'll take the address and our main base will change that into coordinates," said Hero. 

While in the air, he's focused on one thing. A safe landing. "From a pilot's perspective, we're not as concerned with injuries. We're thinking about the landing zone, is it safe and clear?" said Hero.

After his safe landing, he's off to his next life saving mission. In Cordele, Air Evac Life team is the only air medical operator in the region.

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