Thank you, on behalf of the Mahany family (letter)
Special to the Daily
Editor’s note: Kevin Kelble is a former Flight For Life paramedic. The following is a letter of thanks written on behalf of the family of Patrick Mahany, the Flight For Life pilot who died after a helicopter crash at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco on July 3.
On Friday, July 3, our beautiful mountain community was suddenly shocked with the crash of Flight For Life LifeGuard 2 while taking off from Summit Medical Center. From the moment of the crash, Patrick Mahany, Dave Repsher, Matt Bowe and their families were surrounded with support, prayers and love. On behalf of the Mahany family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of people who immediately came forth to help and continued their support in the week that followed.
Flight For Life Colorado:
To Kathy Mayer and the whole staff across the state: We thank you for your support. The Mahany family was surrounded and wrapped in love and prayers from a sea of blue and orange.
To the LifeGuard 2 staff who, in the midst of their terrible grief of losing Patrick and seeing Matt and Dave hurting, rallied around Karen with so much love, providing an incredible foundation of support for each hour to come.
To the amazing pilots and crews who on Monday, July 6, went into service with the rest of the program to again offer outstanding critical care transport across the state that Flight For Life has been known for since 1972. Coming to work at the office or comm center, ambulance, fixed wing aircraft or helicopter to administer professional care was surely a very difficult task.
Summit Medical Center:
To the 13 emergency department and St. Anthony Summit Medical Center (SASMC) staff who immediately ran out of the ER to the burning helicopter and initiated care of the three crew members — you guys are true heroes. For one in particular, the family will be forever grateful as he went into the burning aircraft to get Patrick out, was driven out by the heat and flames — only to go back in and successfully pull Patrick out.
To the cyclist who immediately ran over and pulled Matt away from the burning aircraft.
To the whole staff of SASMC who then had three critical patients in their care along with a full board of patients on a busy holiday Friday. Their outstanding care and commitment to medical excellence in the face of personal feelings for their three injured friends will always be remembered.
To all of the men and women of Summit County’s EMS teams: Your outstanding response to the fire and victims was exemplary. Already busy with increased call volume, you cared for all of those in need knowing that fellow EMS providers had been critically-injured.
Summit County Sheriff’s office, Frisco Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and any other law officer who responded:
To John, Derek, Jamie, Cale, Mark and every other officer who was there to protect the scene and responders and control the frenzy that soon descended on the crash site and the hospital.
To Cale, who made the necessary contacts to get Patrick and Karen’s dogs out of the RV.
Clear Creek Sheriffs Department:
To the sheriff, who arranged for one of their officers to meet Ryan Mahany, who had left Fort Carson and was desperately trying to get to SASMC to see his father but was stuck on I-70 in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Your direct escort to SASMC allowed Ryan to be with Patrick and Karen.
Northern Colorado Med Evac and AirLife Denver:
To the medical crews and pilots who transported Dave and Matt to hospitals in Denver: Their care was professional, compassionate and remarkable considering how difficult it must have been knowing that these patients were fellow air-medical professionals.
To Loren, who put in long nights and countless hours producing an amazing A/V presentation of Patrick’s life. Arranging the photos to perfection while grieving was a mighty difficult task. You gave us all a better understanding of whom he really was from the photos of his life, and we could see his deep love of family and friends.
Horan and McConaty Funeral Service:
To Troy and the staff who handled the service with incredible dignity and respect: Your knowledge and experience was priceless, and the treatment of the family and Patrick was appreciated.
Our neighbors in Summit Cove:
To all of our neighbors who had their lives disrupted as we made our house the focal point for the Mahany family: You stepped up and immediately supported the family in any way needed, from offers of housing to incoming family, to food and drink.
To Jeff and Mountain Rescue Aspen for providing 30 burritos from Chipolte to our home on the night of the accident. It was so needed. And, to the Summit County sheriff officer who picked up those burritos and delivered them to our house.
Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church:
To Father Michael, Deacon Chuck and another priest whose name I do not recall, for being present in the ER for Last Rites and support of the family that fateful day. Father Michael, every little request of the family was honored, and your beautiful services were an affirmation of Patrick’s faith.
Town Of Dillon and Dillon Police Department:
To Tom, Mark, Scott, Steve, Matt, Kerstin and the rest of the staff: I approached you on short notice about the availability of the Dillon Amphitheatre and how when the family saw it, they knew immediately that this was the place to honor Patrick. Without hesitation, you opened your doors, knowing full-well that it would be difficult with the weekly Farmers Market and the number of people who were to arrive to honor Patrick. Your staff did an amazing job, and the hundreds of comments of how incredible the venue was for the funeral service are testament to your hard work.
To the sound engineer with Dillon Community Church who graciously donated his time and equipment.
To TR, Scott, Police, Fire, EMS, Summit County (Gary, Scott and staff), CDOT and Denver Water and all those who took on the task of organizing not one, but two processions. TR, I cannot even begin to thank you for your time and effort in making these run.
To the Frisco, Silverthorne and Dillon police departments, other police officers, town officials and businesses who graciously allowed the processions to run, knowing that they would disrupt traffic and business. To all of the EMS, Fire, Search and Rescue, ski patrols and other agencies that lined the route from Mayo Aviation (Denver) to Frisco and then to Silverthorne on Thursday. I was driving the car with Ryan and Crystal Mahany, and there were tears of gratitude the whole way up as every bridge for 84 miles had an honor guard saluting Patrick. On Friday, the sight of the procession coming across the Dillon Dam on a beautiful morning will be etched in memories for years to come.
Colorado State Patrol:
To all of the officers who tirelessly worked in cars and on motorcycles to lead the procession from Denver to Summit County. Along with other police agencies from all of the counties we traveled through, you kept all of us safe and allowed hundreds, if not thousands of people, to honor Patrick along the route.
To EMS, Fire, SAR and Flight For Life members, sheriff officers, police officers and anyone else I am forgetting that stood watch over Patrick. From the moment we lost Patrick until his funeral service, he was never alone. Peter, you did an amazing job of honoring the family’s wish that he was not alone. At the medical examiner’s in Jefferson County, at the funeral home in Aurora and then back here in Summit, there was always someone with Patrick.
To Roger and the rest of the Air Methods staff who arrived and completely supported Patrick’s service. Every need was met. Roger, you did an incredible job with everything that we requested and needed. And, that support continues for Dave and Matt. There were numerous other Air Methods personnel whom we met who assisted us, and we are grateful for all of your support. You allowed us to honor Patrick in the way that the family will never forget.
Copper Mountain Resort:
To Jesse, Meghan and the rest of the staff at Copper Mountain. What an incredible reception. Meghan, you hit it out of the park. The tiniest details were covered, and any other last-minute requests were met instantly. You provided a venue that allowed us to celebrate Patrick’s life with great food and maybe more drink then we needed! But, that is what an Irishman like Patrick would have wanted. He loved Copper, and it was his favorite mountain, so it was fitting that we ended up there for the rest of the night.
St. Anthony Public Relations:
To Michelle and Erin and the rest of the staff who joined forces with Roger from Air Methods and took care of all of the requests we placed in your laps. Your assistance allowed us to focus on the family the day of the funeral.
Holiday Inn, Summit Express and Copy Copy:
To the staff at the Holiday Inn who offered reduced rates for out of town people. And to Steve, Jenny and the drivers at Summit Express who donated vans to transport the families and also to assist in the movement of people at the funeral as parking was a real challenge.
To Copy Copy for producing beautiful programs on very short notice and handling last-minute changes.
To Bob Winsett, Tim Shinn and Matt Litt for jumping in as a team and documenting the processions, the vigil, the funeral and the reception with grace and professionalism.
Ann, Roisin, Amy, Rob, Shelly and others:
To all of you for doing the little things that truly made it all come together. Housing, baby sitting, wheelchairs, concentrators, flowers being moved from venue to venue, cars being moved and housing some of the Mahany family. You name it, you guys did it. Priceless help.
Honor Guard, Taps, Three-Volley Salute and Bagpipes:
To the men and women of the Colorado Honor Guard who presented Patrick to the altar and stood watch. To the men of Veterans of Foreign Wars who performed the three-Volley Salute. To the young man who performed the beautiful playing of taps. And, to the Honor Guard from Fort Carson that folded the flag and presented it to Karen. Your attention to detail and your professionalism added the military dedication to the service that Patrick earned and deserved.
To my wife Julie who was with Karen when this all happened. She has done whatever it takes to support her. And, she did all of this trying to grieve for the loss of her dear friend Patrick. On top of that, late at night, she would offer me comfort and love as I struggled. Thank you, my love.
LifeGuard 2 crew:
To the men and women of LifeGuard 2 based in Summit County. On Saturday, July 11, the morning after the funeral, these dedicated personnel went back in service. The community is far better off with the availability of their excellent care. More importantly to me, the orange helicopter is back where it belongs … on the pad at Summit Medical Center.
I know I may have forgotten individuals, places, businesses and or agencies and, for that, I sincerely apologize. Know that the Mahany family, Dave and Amanda and Matt and Leigh will remember you in their hearts forever.
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