Community pitches in to pay for helicopter landing pad

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Buddy Mallone stands on the 40-foot-by-40-foot helicopter landing pad built near the American Legion Post 470 building near the Harbor Point community of North Lake Brownwood.

NORTH LAKE BROWNWOOD — Buddy Mallone, a North Lake Brownwood resident and commander of the American Legion Post 470, credits the community with raising the $15,000 it took to build a 40-foot-by-40-foot concrete landing pad for medical helicopters.

The landing pad is on land adjacent to the American Legion building off County Road 422, near the Harbor Point community. Mallone actually owns the land, and he leases it to the American Legion post. Terms of the lease: $1 for a hundred-year lease.

Mallone, 77, is also due some credit.

"I just set out and started raising money," Mallone, an Army veteran and former oilfield worker, said. "The electric company, Comanche Co-op, did some matching funds. The Kiwanis helped us. The High Mesa Cowboy Church and Pleasant Grove Baptist Church helped us, and then just individuals. I didn’t have to ask for much money. We put the word out and people brought us money."

Mallone, who is from Andrews, has lived in Brown County for about seven years. HIs father was from Brown County and had lived in a home near the American Legion building.

Mallone recalled when an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter landed in the area last year on a medical call. "We were landing that helicopter last year on Tamarack Mountains in the weeds, and I was afraid he was going to set something on fire," Mallone said. "So I said we need to get the pad built. I just set out and started raising money.

"It was just a community effort, people coming together and we can service May, Harbor Point, Tamarak Mountain, Thunderbird Bay, all the way over to the bridge. We service probably about 5 or 6,000 people out there.”

The landing pad is the second one to be built at Lake Brownwood. In 2021, the Brown County Water Improvement District built a landing pad near the dam.