One of the most gratifying experiences parents can have is seeing their children achieve their dreams, and for Jan and Steve Bradford that happened earlier this year.
Jan is a Lab Tech at Blue Mountain Hospital. Last July Jan and her husband Steve learned that their son, Chris, a Chief Warrant Officer II and helicopter pilot in the Utah National Guard, was flying an inspection team to Blanding to inspect the Utah National Guard Armory. Chris had spent a year of pilot training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and another year flying around northern Utah with the 211th National Guard unit. And finally, his parent had an opportunity to see their son flying a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, when he came to Blanding.
"He didn't want it to turn into a family reunion since he was on the job, and didn't want us making a big deal out of it," Steve said. "It just happened that we had some family visiting from Arizona and enough of us were here to make a small crowd."
The other pilot on this mission was Chief Warrant Officer II Joseph Galbraith, a second cousin to Chris. His father, Sam Galbraith grew up in Blanding and went to school with many people who still live here. Sam is a first cousin to Jan, Steve explained.
"Our family was thrilled at this event and even though it may have seemed like a small reunion, our soldier took it in stride with a smile. I think he knew it was a big deal for us," Jan and Steve said.
According to his parents, Chris decided early on that he wanted to be a pilot. He built many air planes and helicopters out of Legos. When Chris was about 14 years old he spent half a day working on TV translators at Abajo peak in the middle of winter with Steve.
"We had to fly into Abajo peak in a hired helicopter and upon landing and disembarking the airship, Chris looked at me and said, "that's what I'm going to fly! Helicopters," Steve added.
It took a lot of hard work and determination on Chris' part, but he finally realized his dream of becoming a helicopter pilot. And even better, his parents got to see that dream come true for themselves.