$1.1 million Flight For Life hangar ready for use in 3,000 square-foot facility | SummitDaily.com

$1.1 million Flight For Life hangar ready for use in 3,000 square-foot facility

summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark FoxClose to a 100 people turned out for the dedication of the new St. Anthony Flight For Life helicopter hanger at the Summit Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.

FRISCO ” The plaque outside the new Flight For Life helicopter hangar’s side door entrance reads, “Lasting Memories … of their dedication to helping others.”

Their names are Gary McCall and Sandy Sigman and they died July 9, 1994, while attempting a mountain rescue of an injured hiker. McCall was the pilot and Sigman was the flight nurse on this mission.

“Their legacy was to improve safety and increase awareness of the risk in operation,” Kathy Mayer, program director for Flight For Life, told a group of more than 100 rescue workers and community members who attended the ribbon cutting Wednesday afternoon for the helicopter’s new hangar.

The 3,000-square-foot facility, which broke ground Aug. 9, is part of that mission. And after years of hoping for it, the hangar will officially be ready to house the helicopter in about a week after the latex floor settles.

Leslie Strate, vice president of Summit Medical Center Foundation, conducted fundraising with a team of volunteers for the $1.1 million facility and heated outdoor helipad that sits next to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center near Frisco. In all, it took about 18 months for them to raise the project’s funds and it is 100 percent donor funded, she said.

Paul Chodkowski, the hospital’s administrator, said, “This is a testament to the community support in Summit County toward Flight For Life. … It’s been a long time coming for them and it is a reality.”

Flight For Life has had a hangar on their wish list for the more than 15 years they have been operating in the county, Mayer said. Weather is such a factor in operation, she added.

“It will provide shelter for our helicopter and allow us to recover faster,” Mayer said, adding that the helicopter service serves Summit and surrounding counties.

At Tuesday’s ceremony, the Rev. David Allen, pastor at St. Mary’s and Our Lady of Peace Parish in Summit County, blessed the building that looks like a giant garage.

Shortly after, Flight For Life Chief Pilot Rod Balak spoke, bringing everyone’s attention to the outdoor plaque by saying it is a reminder of the importance of safety and making sure to serve those in need the best way they possibly can.

“When we walk past that stone tablet, it has eyes and it speaks to us,” he said.

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