IDNG Memorial service

Three flight helmets sit atop rifles during a unit memorial service at Gowen Field’s Memorial Park, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. The service honored three Idaho Army National Guard pilots killed when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed Feb. 2 in the mountains near Boise.

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In honor of Memorial Day, the New York-based Tunnel to Towers Foundation has paid off the mortgages on the homes of 20 military families, including the homes of Idaho National Guardsmen and Chief Warrant Officers Jesse Anderson, Matthew Peltzer, and George Laubhan Jr., who were killed in a February Blackhawk helicopter crash near Lucky Peak.

Anderson, 43, Laubhan Jr., 39, and Peltzer, 43, were participating in a routine training mission in mountainous terrain south of Boise on Feb. 2 when deteriorating weather conditions caused the pilots to lose all visibility, which led to the crash, according to the Idaho Air National Guard.

The Tunnels to Towers Foundation was founded in honor of a 9/11 first responder who lost his life in the attacks. The foundation announced Wednesday that in a private ceremony it had provided the three families with documents confirming their mortgages have been paid in full.

All three men left behind wives and children. The foundation launched its Gold Star Family Home Program in September 2018 to provide a mortgage-free home to surviving spouses with young children.

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Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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