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Hawkins and Powers looks for financial Help

by Chris Sorensen |

I would like to remind members and readers that the crash of Tanker 123 was the first documented loss of a PB4Y-2 from structural failure. Gene Powers safely landed a PB4Y-2 after losing 3 engines to contaminated fuel. It is still a good airplane.

"Let them close, I don't work there."

"Let them close, they laid me off."

"Let them sell their toys and houses if they need money."

Lisa Dalin has heard all the reasons people shrug off the financial troubles plaguing Hawkins & Powers Aviation.

But if Hawkins & Powers goes down, so will Greybull, Dalin said. The aerial firefighting company puts $32 million a year into the local economy. Its troubles have serious implications for the schools, services and the area at large.

"We're a small community that may have to face a big impact together. The loss of H&P is very real," the Greybull restaurateur and railroad engineer told a crowd of 80 Monday. "I've been aware of the toll H&P has taken on my family for the last two years now. But doing nothing is no longer an option for me."

Though the daughter of Gene Powers has done little fund-raising outside of "bake sales," Dalin made a community plea in front of the B.P.O.E. meeting room, asking those present to put faith in H&P. The company needs help during this "economic mudslide," she said.

For 35 years, Hawkins & Powers has operated its business at the Big Horn County Airport, providing aerial firefighting planes and personnel for its largest customer - the U.S. government. This spring, the Forest Service grounded the P2 tankers used to douse the wildfires, sending the company into a tailspin.