Missoula Fire Department receives governor's Spirit of Montana award

Zoe Buchli

The Missoula Fire Department received an award from Governor Greg Gianforte on Thursday.

The Spirit of Montana award recognized Missoula fire’s work rescuing a paraglider in July. The award was presented to Captain Bill Bennett, Captain Robert Hanneman and Dave Farmer.

“While saving lives is just part of the job, you should take great pride in the work you did that day and do on a daily basis,” the governor told the firefighters. “I can tell you I’m proud of it, and Montana owes you its utmost thanks.”

On July 16, fire crews were dispatched to Cinnabar Drive. They found a paraglider trapped in a 100-foot-tall Ponderosa tree roughly 70 feet off the ground. The firefighters brought a truck with a tower ladder to reach the treetop. They used a chainsaw to cut through branches and reach the stranded person, who was traumatically injured from the crash.

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“Call came right away, individual was a student on their second flight so their instructor was on the ground in contact, witnessed the incident, and was able to call 911 immediately,” acting battalion chief Bill Bennett said of

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