Helicopter in tribute to Kimberly Hampton nearing reality

Fallen army Captain Kimberly Hampton pilots her chopper

There was no objection in obtaining a decommissioned Kiowa Warrior chopper by Pickens County Council members Monday. They’ll cast their official votes in a week.

The chopper was the same type fallen Army Captain Kimberly Hampton flew during her time in the military. Hampton was the first female military pilot in U.S. history to be killed when shot down by hostile fire.

Right now, the county has named a library after the local hero, with plaques and images around the building telling her story. The Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library on Biltmore Road is currently a consideration for where to place the helicopter in her honor.

"Now they got a group of citizens that have come together to raise money to help offset some of the cost,” said Pickens County Council chairman Roy Costner. “The actual helicopter itself will come from the federal government. It'll be gifted to the county."

Councilman Ensley Feemster is a Veteran. He says the vote brings them one step closer to paying tribute to a soldier that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

"I think it's a wonderful way to honor her,” smiled Feemster, “I'm just happy we're working on getting it done."

Councilman Chris Bowers also voiced his support for the memorial.

"We have a library named after her. That's great," Bowers said. “That's wonderful and I'm so glad we did that, but this is a way that not just the name lives, but the idea what she stood for."

Captain Hampton’s mother, Ann said, “Of course we are thrilled and honored that they are considering to memorialize Kimberly in this way."

Chairman Costner hopes the additional monument that will be on the library property will keep Captain Hampton's memory alive for future generations.

"Not only is it a testament to her and her service to all military families and their service, it gives kids an opportunity to drive by and asks that question,” explained Costner. “What is that about, what is that for? That's cool."

Council members say Sen. Lindsay Graham is working on locating a chopper that could be used for the memorial. The timetable is uncertain for now, but council is hopeful it will be sooner rather than later.

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