Memorial service for Flight For Life pilot set for Friday
Summit County will host a memorial service the morning of Friday, July 10, in memory of Patrick Mahany, a longtime Flight For Life pilot and decorated Vietnam War veteran who died in a helicopter crash last Friday. The 64-year-old Silverthorne resident had worked for Flight For Life Colorado for 28 years, saving many lives along the way.
“Any time a community has a tragedy like this and loses someone as special as Patrick, with the life experience he has and his dedication to serving others, it’s not only going to be felt by EMS and the Summit County community, but its going to have broader repercussions,” said Dillon communications director Kerstin Anderson. “It’s a tight-knit community, and he was very much respected.”
A memorial procession leading up to the service will begin at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood at noon on Thursday, traveling to Frisco’s St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. Emergency service vehicles and Flight For Life helicopters will stream across I-70, as bridges and the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel will be decorated with flags in memory of Mahany.
“It’s going to be quite the procession,” county manager Gary Martinez said during a county commission meeting on Tuesday. “We’re talking about a lot of vehicles; over 125 as of yesterday.”
The procession will continue at 8 a.m. on Friday, from Frisco to the Dillon Amphitheatre, where a memorial service will be held. The service will start at 10 a.m., with an outdoor Catholic Mass led by Father Michael Glenn and Deacon James Doyle of Our Lady of Peace Church in Silverthorne.
Afterward, there will be a traditional eulogy, the presentation of the flag and a 21-gun salute, honoring Mahany’s service in Vietnam. He earned a bronze star and a purple heart for his work as a scout helicopter pilot after his aircraft was shot down three times.
His son, Ryan, requests that guests bring an American flag to the memorial. They are also encouraged to wave a flag as the procession drives through Frisco and along the Dillon Dam Road that morning.
“We set up this memorial for the families, the way Patrick would have wanted it to be,” said Christina Brodsly, communications director for Air Methods.
There will also be a fly-over featuring Flight For Life Colorado, High Altitude Aviation Training and potentially a black hawk from Fort Carson, a nod to Ryan’s service as a pilot in Afghanistan. The service will conclude with a reception in Copper, with a specific time and location yet to be announced.
Parking at the amphitheater will be limited, so Brodsly encourages attendees to carpool or use another mode of transportation.
“We’re expecting thousands of people,” she added.
As a veteran, a pilot, a soccer coach and a father, Mahany touched several lives, stretching far beyond the Summit County community.
“He embodied the spirit of service to others, whether it be his crew and colleagues, whom he greatly loved, or the people he and his crew worked to save daily,” his family wrote in an obituary on Wednesday. “Patrick selflessly gave his love to his family and friends. People describe his presence when he entered a room, though they likely heard his booming voice first, and he always brought a vibrant and contagious joy that set everyone at ease.”
In place of flowers or gifts, Mahany’s family encourages that donations be made to the Frisco Helicopter Donation Fund, at Wells Fargo Bank, P.O. Box 4340, Frisco, CO 80443, acct. no. 6307517174. Condolences may be left at http://www.horancares.com/obituary/Patrick-Edwin-Mahany-Jr./Golden-CO/1525831.
“One day after I showed interest in the Airbus helicopter he piloted, he was happy to take a few minutes to show me around and answer questions even though he was obviously busy,” wrote Bill Way in a condolence to the family on the website. “He managed to touch a lot of lives no matter what he did. I admired him.”
While flight nurse Matt Bowe is in fair condition, flight nurse and paramedic David Repsher is still in critical condition. Both are hospitalized in Denver, at the St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood and University Hospital.
“I’d like to thank our friends, family members, the Flight For Life team and all Dave’s caregivers for supporting us and helping us during this tragedy. Dave continues to fight for his life and remains in critical condition,” wrote Repsher’s wife, Amanda Soychak. “From serving on ski patrol and as a paramedic on ambulances, to caring for patients as an ICU nurse at St. Anthony Hospital and as a flight nurse for Flight For Life, Dave has dedicated his life to helping and caring for others. He has always put others first.”
A GoFundMe is also set up to assist all three families affected by the July 3 crash. The account, created by Centura health, can be found at http://www.gofundme.com/y4m9gs4m.
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