This week an Army veteran badly injured in the Colorado high county reunited with the Flight for Life helicopter crew that he credits with saving his life.
Last year Steve Burns fell from a 30 foot cliff while he was skiing with a friend. He struck his head and suffered a serious brain injury. Unconscious at 12,000 feet up on a remote mountainside with a storm baring down, his only hope was a Flight for Life rescue.
Burns was saved by that helicopter crew, and he’s now walking again after initially being unable to. He says he doesn’t remember his rescue, but he won’t ever forget the faces of his rescuers.
“I wouldn’t be here if it was not for you guys,” said Burns when he met with the group of emergency responders this week in Summit County. “I don’t know what to say other than thank you.”
“It is not every day these brave Flight For Life crews get the chance to meet the victims they helped save,” said Flight for life paramedic Chris Carr.
The reunion comes in the wake of the helicopter crash in Frisco last month that critically injured one of the people who was involved in the rescue.
On July 3 a Flight for Life helicopter slammed to the ground just seconds after it took off. The pilot, Patrick Mahany, was killed and two crew members were seriously injured after the helicopter reportedly began spinning out of control. One of those crew members was Dave Repsher.
Repsher remains in a fight for his life.
“He would have loved to be here to see this,” said Loren Courtney, a Flight For Life pilot.
Since the July crash, crews have had to continue to fly missions with heavy hearts. And the crew members say the meeting could not have come at a better time.
Carr said meetings like the ones with Burns “bring special meaning” to what he and his team members do.
“It brings validation,” Carr said. “It’s great to get feedback like this. It shows what we do really matters.”
“These guys really do risk their lives in their jobs. They saved my life,” said Burns.
The crew members CBS4 interviewed during the reunion said despite the dangers, they couldn’t imagine doing something else.
“(It’s) probably one of the best jobs you can have,” said Courtney.
“This is extremely special and rewarding to see how Steve is doing. It brings sense of fulfillment to the work we do,” Carr said.