One of Boise's finest flies with Thunderbirds

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Arriving early at 6:30 a.m., David Cavanaugh went through equipment checks and his medical briefing Sept. 19, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Cavanaugh explained many different thoughts went through his mind before the flight.

As part of the Hometown Heroes Flight Program, Cavanaugh, a sergeant with the Boise Police Department, flew with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

"'I hope I don't throw up,' that was foremost [in my mind]!" said Cavanaugh. "Just the excitement of what it was going to be like. I didn't really have a good frame of reference. I was just ready to experience everything I possibly could!"

The choice for the Hometown Hero Flight was not made lightly. Cavanaugh was chosen out of many qualified candidates.

"The Hometown Hero flight is a great program where we get to take an average citizen from the local area who has done amazing things and take them out to show them our appreciation for what they do for their local community. By showcasing not only the F-16 but some of the things some of our total force Airmen do every single day when they put on that uniform and serve our country." said Maj. Michael Fisher, Thunderbirds Advance Pilot.
Cavanaugh was chosen based on his work implanting programs to help veterans.

"I thought to myself, many of our military vets have an up-and-down ride in returning to society after deployments," Mike Masterson, Boise Police Chief "They have served one or two, maybe three tours, defending our country. Sergeant Cavanaugh understands teamwork just like the Air Force. It takes teamwork, training, communication and coordination to prepare high performance jets just as it does for police officers who respond to our highest risk calls."

Cavanaugh is responsible for the creation and implementation of the Boise Police Crisis Intervention Team and the Boise Police Veterans Intercept Model, programs designed to keep veterans from self-harm and jail.

Working to help service members returning from deployments, Cavanaugh stresses the importance of community and base resources for these individuals.

"We're trying to do things to help service members coming back who are having a difficult time readjusting," said Cavanaugh. "With the programs the community has been doing both with Boise and the Treasure Valley. We have a huge network of people that are working really hard to give support."

Hoping there are more than just formal resources available, Cavanaugh stresses that service members and the community know there are resources to help.

"I'm looking forward to the possibility the word will spread even more about Crisis Intervention Teams and the Veterans Sequential Intercept program as a result of this flight," said Cavanaugh. "It's important for the public to realize law enforcement officers are here to help and want to but sometimes it's a lack of resources, of procedures or both, which make it difficult for us to do so."

"I have always admired the men and women who fly for the military and especially the precision and dedication for those who are the elite of the group. I am a huge fan!" said Cavanaugh.