LITTLETON, Colo. – Those in Colorado’s Air Medical field can’t forget July 3, 2015. It was on that day that Flight for Life Helicopter Pilot Patrick Mahany died in a fiery crash 70 miles west of Denver in the town of Frisco.
Family, friends and colleagues came together on Saturday morning to honor Mahany and 15 other Air Medical personnel who died in the line of duty last year.
The Air Medical Memorial Ceremony in Littleton has been held annually since 2010. This year’s ceremony was especially important to Flight for Life Flight Nurse David Kearns.
“The people that are speaking are telling stories that you know. They’re talking about somebody that you know intimately,” said Kearns.
He worked with Pilot Patrick Mahany and Flight Nurse Kristin McClain.
McClain previously worked in Colorado, but died when she fell during an evening rescue operation on April 27th, 2015 in Texas.
Mahany and McClain are just two of 16 Air Medical personnel who died last year.
The Air Medical Memorial Ceremony is the only national memorial that honors the more than 400 air medical crew members lost since the 1970s.
Memorial founder Steven Sweeney said he felt there was a need to recognize the fallen because of the risks they have taken and the benefits they have provided to the communities they have served.
Sweeney said crowds have grown each year -- proving there is a need for this type of support. “It says, 'yes! We’re not alone in believing this is a valuable project,'” Sweeney told Denver7.
Sweeney wants to bring a permanent memorial to Littleton to continue to honor all who have died in the line of Air Medical duty.
Groundbreaking started back in 2011 and Sweeney said he expects it to be completed in the next two years.
He said the project has a $1,000,000 budget, but he’s only raised a little more than $100,000 so far. Sweeney said he’s focusing on fundraising efforts.
Steven Sweeney organized a memorial today to honor 16 air medical personnel who died in the line duty last year. pic.twitter.com/ELcBIJDmDJ
— Alan Stedman (@AlanStedman7) August 20, 2016