MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WKRN) — On Wednesday, a Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission in Madison County, Alabama. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Daniel Wadham and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Danny Randolph did not survive, and both left behind grieving families.
“Just said that he had gone down in a helicopter crash and I asked if he was OK, and she said ‘no, he’s gone,'” said Rose Heinge, Wadham’s ex-wife.
The heartbreaking moment was caught on camera when a Tennessee National Guard Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training flight near Huntsville. In an interview, Wadham’s daughter, ex-wife and former mother-in-law all remembered his kind and loving spirit.
“He’s had a servant’s heart, always, it was his life mission, to protect and serve,” remembered Kim Evans, Wadham’s former mother-in-law.
Wadham deployed shortly after his daughter was born. He went on to join the Tennessee National Guard and for several years worked with the Metro Nashville Police Department.
“The only thing I can say for sure is when the trajectory and flight plan, it looked like they fought the entire way down to keep that helicopter out of the neighborhood,” said Heinge. “I know for a fact without a shadow of a doubt that he went down fighting to save as many lives as he could.”
Wadham is described as a devoted husband and father. Although Heinge is divorced from her former husband, she said Wadham’s love for his family had never wavered.
“He was home, he should have been safe. He wasn’t overseas, he wasn’t on deployment. He was home. You don’t expect it when they are home.”
Both Wadham and Randolph are now considered heroes, as a neighborhood watched what they believe was the pilot trying to avoid people and cars.
Wadham’s family is now urging others to take nothing for granted.
“A lesson that we have unfortunately learned through all of this is, you think it will never happen to you. You think that’s so sad and you’re an outsider looking in from a distance and you think […] but you have no idea, you have no idea when it’s your time or when the person you love the most in the world is going to have their time up. So, we encourage everyone to hug your husbands, your wives, your parents, your friends, and just appreciate this time that you have because tomorrow is not promised at all,” said Heinge.