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MY INTEREST IN FLYING HELICOPTERS STARTED AROUND 13. I STARTED TRYING TO CONVINCE MY DAD TO TEACH ME. — Ashli Blain

Ashli says she watched many of them work 12 days on and 12 days off just to make an impact on a fire line. “It’s a grueling schedule and takes a lot of stamina. When you’ve been flying for eight hours on a fire, it takes a lot out of you.”

“I loved working with the animals, and I have such respect for the veterinarians there,” she says. “I could have gone that route, but at some point, I had to make the choice because I knew I couldn’t do both.”

As passionate as Ashli seems to be about flying helicopters, and as much as she loves the world of aviation, she’s a freshman studying accounting at Rocky Mountain College.

Today, she feels fortunate to be doing what she loves.

“I know,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a different world as far as excitement, but I love my classes and my teachers. I wanted to be able to fall back on another career in case aviation doesn’t work out.” The youngest of three girls, Ashli spent her childhood romping around her parents’ acreage south of Billings. She raised chickens and had a thriving egg business. As she homeschooled, she also worked for Caring Hands Veterinary Clinic, helping with the animals, and considered vet school before the lure of aviation and accounting took hold.

“It’s hard work,” she says, “but I’m lucky to have found something that I am passionate about so I’m willing to put the work into it.” ✻

CYDNEY HOEFLE, writer A fourth generation Montanan, Cydney was raised on a ranch on the banks of the Yellowstone River where an appreciation of the outdoors was fostered. She and her husband raised three children in Billings and are now the proud grandparents of three. The best part of any of her days is time spent with Jesus, family, friends, a good book or capturing someone’s story in words.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...

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