Helicopters For Heroes helps vets move forward with a blast from the past

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ENNIS, TX -- Sometimes you have to travel back in your past in order to move forward.

Oh, and it helps to remember that it can be pretty fun to fire a machine gun!

"It's like, 'Have some freedom!' You get to dispense some freedom. It's great," said former Army Infantryman Kevin Trimble.

No doubt about it, Trimble enjoyed his time in the service.

"I was a SAW gunner," he said. "Any time you got into a firefight, you kind of felt like a bad ass because everyone else has pop guns, and you're like, 'Brrrrrrrr,'" he said, mimicking the gun's rapid fire action.

That changed one day just five months into his first tour in Afghanistan when the man next to him stepped on an IED.

"I couldn't find my weapon, so I pulled out my tourniquet out of my med pouch that we carry," Trimble said. "I put my own tourniquet on my left arm, my medic put the one on my right leg, and my squad leader put the one on my left leg."

Trimble lost all three limbs.

"Your whole identity is just sort of nothing," Trimble said.

This weekend and the event Helicopters for Heroes exists for men and women like Kevin Trimble.

"These guys are sacrificing their lives for us," said founder Phillip Brooks. "They're just people way far away on the TV that get 10 seconds on the news, so that's why we do it."

The event welcomes servicemen and women to shoot and ride in helicopters and to do both at the same time.

"A lot of these guys hadn't been on a helicopter since they left the battlefield," Brooks said.

"The last one was the wrong kind of excitement," Trimble added.

The three-day event benefits all these veterans, and any leftover proceeds go toward charities that give at least 90 percent of their money to veterans. This year's recipients are Veterans Xtreme Adventures, Empower Heroes, and Independence Fund.

Oh, and...

"They got guns! Machine guns!" Trimble yelled.