Statewide procession honors Flight For Life pilot Patrick Mahany (video)
A stream of fire trucks, police cars and emergency vehicles wound their way through Frisco, as onlookers stood by solemnly, waving tiny American flags. The EMS procession for Flight For Life pilot Patrick Mahany, who died in a helicopter crash on July 3, made its way from Denver to Frisco’s St. Anthony Summit Medical Center on Thursday.
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“He will be held in our hearts forever and ever,” said Paul Chodkowski, CEO of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center during a brief memorial outside of the hospital. “As most of you all know, tomorrow’s celebration at the at the Dillon Amphitheater will be a tremendous sendoff for Patrick and in respect to his commended life and dedication to our county, to our patients and to our healthcare ministry here in Summit.
The lot in front of the hospital was filled with Summit County residents, hospital staff, who bore orange ribbons and the winged Flight For Life badge. They waved to the family as the procession departed for a wake that evening, with Mahany’s coffin draped in an American flag.
On Friday, the EMS procession will continue from Frisco to the Dillon Amphitheatre, starting at 8 a.m., leading up to a memorial ceremony honoring the pilot who had served Flight For Life for 28 years.
The ceremony will start with an outdoor Catholic Mass, and will also feature a helicopter flyover by Flight For Life and the U.S. Army, as well as a pipes and drum band.
There will be a 21-gun salute and the presenting of the flag, to honor Mahany’s service in the Vietnam War. He was awarded a purple heart and a bronze star, two of the highest honors, after his helicopter was shot down three times.
“He was a role model for the entire flight crew,” Chodkowski added. “He was just such a strong personality, and had such a strong presence any time you would meet him or talk to him. Underneath that was just the most dedicated, caring individual that wanted to provide service to those in need. That balance was perfect.”
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