In Memory of the Spirit 2 Crew
Emergency services across the nation have been showing their support for the three crash victims of the Ascension Wisconsin Spirit helicopter in the past week. Rico Caruso, Kint Mitchell, and Gregory Rosenthal died April 26 when the Ascension Wisconsin Spirit helicopter crashed in Hazelhurst while returning to its base in Woodruff after dropping off a patient in Madison.
A statewide (and beyond) movement, fire and ambulance crews, the police, and fire/EMS programs in Spencer, Nekoosa, Marshfield, and Wisconsin Rapids – to name just a few – joined together for photos, each holding a sign bearing the hashtags #SpiritStrong or #Spirit2Strong in memory of the Spirit 2 crew.
“We were deeply saddened to hear about the incident that claimed the lives of the Spirit 2 crew,” said Marshfield Fire Chief Scott Owen. “The Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department had worked with Spirit since the start of the program when it was ‘Spirit of Marshfield,’ and although they recently left Marshfield, they are still part of our emergency services family. This is a simple way for us to remember and honor their sacrifice and thank them for what they have done for all of the patients and emergency services they interfaced with in Wisconsin.”
Spirit relocated from Marshfield to Stevens Point last July. Air medical transportation company Life Link III is planning to open its eighth helicopter base at Marshfield Medical Center in mid-2018, according to its website.
Other local responders voiced their support for the victims.
“The reason we chose to participate is the close relationship and support we have with all first responders,” said Patrick Zeps, Assistant Chief at the Marshfield Police Department. “We share a common mission, and that is to serve the citizens in times of their greatest needs. The Spirit crew lost their lives while serving. We may never know the impact those crew members had on the lives of those they helped, oftentimes putting themselves at risk. We as a department, along with the community, feel this loss particularly hard given the relationship we had with the Spirit for so many years, and offer our condolences to the family and friends of those lost in this tragic event. In this time of loss we honor their service and their sacrifice.”
“We wanted to participate because of our past relationship with Spirit,” said Dillon Cook, 3rd Asst. Chief of Spencer Fire Department. “In the past, Spirit would provide ground and air services to our department. During times like this, the fire and EMS community comes together to provide support for all involved. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and fellow Spirit crew members.”
“Participating was never a question for us,” said Chief Mark Meyers, Nekoosa Ambulance Service. “We have a long held bond with Spirit Transport Service, not only working with them in the field, but several of our members have been or currently are employees of Spirit Transport. Simply put, it would be wrong for us to not participate.”
“The EMS and fire programs at Mid-State Technical College are participating in the #SPIRITSTRONG initiative as a show of professional support. The tragic loss of three members of our public safety community is a difficult event,” said Rick Anderson, Associate Dean, School of Protective and Human Services, Mid-State Technical College. “Several of us at the college have worked with these men, and just as importantly, we still work with the men and women who continue to work at Ascension Spirit Medical Transportation.”
A number of Ascension employees have received education at Mid-State. “We want to make sure that we continue to support their needs in any way that we are able,” he said. “This small token of our appreciation for their service and their sacrifice pales in comparison to anything that they have had to deal with during this tragic period of time. #SPIRITSTRONG.”