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March Hero of the Month: Colorado Blackhawk helicopter pilot on a mission overseas

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CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo -- Every month, we honor a military member or veteran as our Serving Those Who Serve "Hero of the Month."

This month, we're traveling farther than we ever have before to hand out the award.

Some 6,000 miles from home, to the eastern European country of Kosovo.

That's where Colorado National Guard Blackhawk helicopter pilot Rob Bingham is currently on assignment.

He was deployed a few weeks ago, along with about 150 other local guard members, to Camp Bondsteel. It's a NATO military base near the border of Kosovo and North Macedonia, where the Colorado National Guard helicopter crews are training alongside forces from other nations.

When danger is on the horizon, there are people who run from it, and people who fly toward it. Bingham is one of the latter.

He's been behind the controls of a Blackhawk helicopter for years, helping fight wildfires in our state and helping protect our nation.

"This is basically like manually operating a locomotive. So everything inside of it is very manual. We use steam gauges. It is the workhorse of the Army," Bingham said, describing the Blackhawk.

This isn't his first deployment.

"I was a Sergeant on my last rotation in Iraq and I was thinking about getting out. But in the back of my head I thought wouldn't it be great to be a commander and actually be able to make change and create a good environment for my soldiers. So I decided to stay in. I'm now at 17 years and I'm making my goals and doing what I can," Bingham told FOX31's Jeremy Hubbard, who recently traveled to Kosovo to report on the guard members deployed there.

Bingham goes by a lot of titles: commander in the Colorado National Guard, and founder and CEO of Colorado Veterans Project, the non-profit that organizes Denver's Veterans Day Parade and the annual Memorial Day walk and run in Castle Rock.

Other titles he answers to: husband, leader and friend. But "hero" is the title we wanted to give him. So we're naming him our FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month for March 2020.

"This is an honor. Thank you," he said, as we handed him a plaque on the flight line at Camp Bondsteel earlier this month.

Hero is a deserving title for someone who serves his state, both at home and overseas. Doing his part to make everyone in Colorado a little more safe.

Along with the award, Bingham receives a $750 Visa gift card from our Serving Those Who Serve sponsors, Rocky Mountain Honda Dealers and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.

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