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Highway sign commemorates Guardsmen who perished in North Alabama helicopter crash

HARVEST — A highway sign from State Rep. Andy Whitt is honoring Tennessee National Guard Chief Officer Daniel Wadham and Chief Warrant Officer Danny Randolph, who were killed when their helicopter crashed last year. 

The memorial marker is on Alabama Highway 53, north of Huntsville, at the site of the crash.

“This memorial marker honors their service and dedication to our country,” said Whitt (R-Harvest), who made a charitable donation for the marker. “I also hope it gives the family the closure and peace they deserve.

“It is the least I can do and I want their service to always be remembered.”

Wadham of Joelton, Tenn., and Randolph of Murfreesboro, Tenn., died Feb. 15, 2023 in the crash in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes of Alabama 53 near the intersection of Burwell Road in Harvest.

“Chief Officer Daniel Wadham and Chief Officer Danny Randolph served our country with dignity, courage, and honor,” Whitt said in a statement. “This community will always remember that day. As a former volunteer firefighter, we are trained to respond to emergencies however the scene first responders described is something that no one can really be prepared for and no one had ever seen.”

After a fueling at Huntsville International Airport and stop in Enterprise, the crew returned to Huntsville to refuel, according to a news release from Whitt.

“During the flight shortly from taking off from the airport the aircraft began spinning out of control near houses and businesses, the crew took the helicopter down at the medium,” the release read.

“I believe these men of honor made the decision to land where they did to decrease the impact of loss of life and to me they are both true heroes.”

“This memorial marker honors their service and dedication to our country,” said Whitt, who made a charitable donation for the marker. “I also hope it gives the family the closure and peace they deserve. 

“It is the least I can do and I want their service to always be remembered.”

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