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Bozeman helicopter pilot killed in Oregon had close ties to Search and Rescue team

Posted at 1:26 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 13:54:45-04

Tom Duffy, the helicopter pilot that died Monday in an Oregon crash while battling wildfires, had many close ties to the Gallatin County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team.

In a press release, Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Duffy was the third generation of the Duffy family to fly rescue missions for SAR. He has flown SAR rescue missions for 20 years and his most recent missions was on Aug 15, when he flew 3 times for the GCSAR helicopter team. Tom was a world-class rescue pilot who instilled confidence in SAR volunteers on every mission. "He was a big man with a big heart who brought calm and skill to every mission," Gootkin said in the release.

Duffy was killed in a firefighting accident in Oregon on Monday. He was conducting bucket drops on the White Fire to help firefighters battle the blaze, which was burning in rough terrain in Mt Hood National Forest.

"When God opened a door, Tom walked through it, which led him to many adventures and skills," the press release states. "In addition to flying, he was a husband, father, business owner, and church member. He went big in everything he did and will be deeply missed in the GCSAR community and beyond."
Photo courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office