Friday, December 18, 2015

Colorado Grand helps fund Flight for Life crash site memorial park

Flight Nurse Matt Bowe grinned as Colorado Grand Community Liaison Eddie O'Brien presented him a $15,000 check for a memorial park, in memory of Patrick Mahany, who died in a Flight For Life helicopter crash last summer.

Colorado Grand Communtiy Liason Eddie O'Brien and Flight Nurse Matt Bowe hugged after the grant was presented. Bowe is back in uniform after surviving a July helicopter crash.

The Colorado Grand pledged donations to several Summit County nonprofits this year, giving out a total of $443,000 in proceeds across western Colorado communities.

This year, in addition to several annual grants, the program is also pledging $15,000 to help fund a memorial park at the crash site of the Lifeguard Two Flight For Life helicopter. The July 3 crash took the life of pilot and decorated Vietnam veteran Patrick Mahany, and seriously injured flight nurses David Repsher and Matt Bowe.

“We have been giving Flight For Life grants since the very beginning,” Colorado Grand spokesman Eddie O’Brien said. “This is a celebration of life. What a terrific loss we had when we lost Patrick.”

Plans for the pocket park are being drafted, with Norris Design selected as the landscape architects for the project. O’Brien noted that in addition to the bidders, several locals have offered their time and services to help realize the memorial.

“We took the single bid, and the other bidders have said they still want to be involved in this,” O’Brien said. “The landscape designers are donating time… This is a wonderful group.”

Julie Kelble, who is chairing the park committee, said they planned to put the memorial park off of the rec path by the hospital, overlooking the crash site. The committee has been meeting since September, and hopes to open the park to the public on July 3, 2016.

 Julie Kelble, who is chairing a committee to build the memorial park, looks at a photo of Patrick Mahany. The decorated Vietnam veteran and Flight For Life pilot perished in a helicopter crash last July.


The Colorado Grand, created in 1989 by automotive enthusiast Bob Sutherland, has raised more than $4 million to date. Funds are raised through entry fees and donations for the annual car tour, which features five days of vintage (pre-1960s) sports and racecars driving through Colorado’s mountain towns.

Inspired by the Mille Miglia in Italy, the event took a turn of its own in bringing the cars through scenic mountain towns, and looking for ways to give back in turn.

Every year, the event gives funds to the Robert D. Sutherland Memorial Foundation to support bipolar-disorder therapy through a University of Colorado clinic, granting $40,000 this year.

The event also pledged a $150,000 donation to the Colorado State Patrol foundation, to help subsidize the Fallen Officers Fund, the Hardship Fund and the Tuition Scholarship Fund.

Colorado Grand presented a $4,000 grant to the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, to support GED and ESL scholarships in Summit County.

“We have this tremendous relationship with (Colorado State Patrol),” Flight Nurse Peter Werlin said. “They’ve been with us through our tragedy, and we’ve been with them through their tragedies.”

Flight For Life and Colorado State Patrol receive grants from the Colorado Grand annually. In past years, the Grand has helped fund the Flight For Life Hangar at St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center, named after Sandy Signman and Gary McCall who died in a Lifeguard Two crash landing on Huron Peak in 1994.

“The board members continue to support Flight For Life and take pride in building the hangar,” O’Brien said. “It was a community effort that built the hangar; the community ‘owns’ the hangar.”

The Colorado Grant also gave $12,000 to Court-Appointed Special Advocates of the Continental Divide (CASA). The funds will be used to support child advocacy in court, as well as training volunteers.

The Family and Intercultural Resource Center received $7,000 for parenting and fatherhood classes.

Colorado Grand also gave several grants to local nonprofits on Thursday, including the Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), Colorado Mountain College, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and the League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS).

The FIRC received $7,500 for parenting and fatherhood classes, and CMC will have an additional $4,000 to support GED and ESL programs in Summit County. CASA was granted $12,000 to fund child advocacy operations and volunteer training. In addition, LAPS was granted $4,000 to support a medical fund for low-income Summit County pet owners.

“These guys just come and pour money into our communities,” Werlin said.

Story and photo gallery:

In total, the Colorado Grand pledged more than $443,000 to Colorado nonprofits this year.

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA290
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, July 03, 2015 in Frisco, CO
Aircraft: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS INC AS350B3E, registration: N390LG
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 3, 2015, at 1339 mountain daylight time, an Airbus Helicopter Inc. (formerly American Eurocopter) AS350B3e helicopter, N390LG, impacted the upper west parking lot 360 feet southwest of the Summit Medical Center helipad (91CO), Frisco, Colorado. A post-impact fire ensued. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Air Methods Corp and the flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 on a company flight plan. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured and two flight nurses were seriously injured. The public relations flight was en route to Gypsum, Colorado.

According to Air Methods the helicopter was flying to the American Spirit of Adventure Boy Scout Camp near Gypsum, Colorado, for a public relations mission. Multiple witnesses observed the helicopter lift off from the ground-based helipad, rotate counterclockwise, and climb simultaneously. One witness estimated that the helicopter reached an altitude of 100 feet before it started to descend. The helicopter continued to spin counterclockwise several times before it impacted a parking lot and an RV to the southwest of the Flight for Life hangar and helipad. The helicopter came to rest on its right side, was damaged by impact forces, and was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire.

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