LETCHER COUNTY, KY - A southeast Kentucky community is mourning after one of their own is reported missing after a military helicopter crash off the coast of Hawaii. Military officials say two Black Hawks were conducting training when one lost contact with the other. Search teams found a debris field, but no signs of life. Experts say the soldiers had life-sustaining supplies which would've helped them survive in the event of a crash. The search was called off on Monday night. Staff Sargeant Abigail Milam of Jenkins, Kentucky was onboard that helicopter when it crashed. News five crews were in Milam's hometown to learn more about her.
"May my heart be kind, my mind fierce and my spirit brave..." that's a quote that 32 year-old Abby Milam used to define herself. Milam grew up in Letcher County, Kentucky. She attended school in the small town of Fleming-Neon. Genda Felming remembers Abby as a young child.
"My daughter, she grew up with Abby and her sisters pretty much. We lived in the same area, attended the same schools, so they were always around each other in school, attending parties or ball games or you know the things teenagers do," Fleming says.
Fleming's daughter and Abby grew up playing softball together.
"There's lots of special memories of Abby...she was just a little live wire, she was just a very tiny, petite little girl, but when she walked on the softball field, she was one of the biggest girls on the team," Fleming says.
After high school, Abby decided to join the military. Jenkins Police Chief James Stephens describes Abby as a true patriot.
"A lot of young folks these days are looking for what they can get, how they can be served...Abby wanted to serve, and I'm honored that I knew her," he says.
An honorable member of the military, a friend, and a loved one, Abby is remembered as giving a kind-hearted.
"She was kind of quiet at first, but then once she got to know you, she'd do anything for you," Stephens says.
Those who knew Abby are among the many across the country, who remain hopeful for her safe return. Abby's family did not want to be on camera, but said in a letter to news five,
"To her family and friends she will always be the person we aspire to be. She will be more missed than any of us have the words to say. Until we meet again, We love you Abigail."
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