They were dedicated professionals who had a passion for helping others. That's how the LifeNet crew was remembered Friday as the community came together to honor all four victims who perished in last week's helicopter crash.
Three flight helmets representing the three crew members killed in the horrible helicopter accident in Mosby, MO were placed at the front of the Word of Life Church in St. Joseph. Family, friends and other emergency personnel from the surrounding area came together to pay tribute to Randy Bever, Chris Frakes, James Freudenberg and their patient Tarry Tacoronte.
"They were great guys. I knew them well, especially over last several years. We all put lives on the line. It's a sad day when something like this happens," said Jeremy Hodges.
Flight paramedics Hodges and Brad Nettleton drove from Omaha, NE to be at the memorial service.
"It's tough just knowing it could be anyone of us this could have happened to. You never know what's going to happen when in the aircraft," said Nettleton.
All three men leave behind their wives and children. Freudenberg, the pilot, was looking forward to becoming a father as his wife is expecting their first child. A fellow flight paramedic, Jeff Coe, became emotional when he talked about how they feel losing the patient Terry Tacoronte, 58, in the crash.
"I can tell you on behalf of the crew we are so very sorry we were unable to rescue her. I know James, had he survived, he would be devastated the patient did not. I know he was tough but not that tough," said Coe.
Outside the church, the victim's names were read during a last call and there was a symbolic flyover for the team that never got to complete their medical mission.
"Look at the father, dancing with his daughter after a heart attack or a child amazed by the colors of a carousel after having been hit by a car or the first steps of a patient, recovering from a stroke and you'll know why Chris and Randy and James chose their profession," said Craig Yale, the VP of Corporate Development for Air Methods Corporation.
Each of the families impacted by the tragedy has already held funerals for their loved ones. Friday's memorial was coordinated by the company that runs the LifeNet program.
The pilot reported he was low on fuel, but investigation into why this tragedy happened continues as this medical community continues their healing process.
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