Update: August 18, 2016 / Santa Rosa, CA

Memorial Fund Established to Honor Pilot and Medical Crew Lost in Cal-Ore Life Flight Accident
On July 29, 2016, a Cal-Ore Life Flight air medical plane crashed north of McKinleyville, CA. In addition to the patient, three Cal-Ore Life Flight personnel were on board: Pilot Larry Mills; Flight Nurse Deborah Kroon, RN, CCRN; and Certified Flight Paramedic Michelle Tarwater, FP-C, NREMT-P. There were no survivors.

Pilot Larry Mills was a man of few words and many smiles. He was a volunteer firefighter for 12 years in his hometown in Illinois. Larry was an exceptional pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience. He loved flying and said it was the only job in the world where he could do something he loved while being of service to others. Larry had been with Cal-Ore Life Flight since April of this year.

Flight Nurse Deborah Kroon came to this country from New Zealand. She spent 25 years as a critical care nurse working in hospitals across the U.S. When she arrived in Del Norte County in Northern California, she fell in love with the area and made Crescent City her home. She had been with Cal-Ore since October of 2014.

Certified Flight Paramedic Michelle Tarwater loved her noble work. She was especially proud to be one of the first in the region to receive National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians-Paramedic (NREMT-P) certification. Her mother said she knew Michelle would be a caregiver from the day she was born. Michelle had been with Cal-Ore since 2011.

Please note that out of respect for the family’s privacy concerns, we are not writing about the patient.

To honor the fallen crew members who gave their lives being of service to others, a memorial scholarship fund has been established with the Wild Rivers Community Foundation. This fund will support education for aviation, flight nursing, and flight paramedics in Curry and Del Norte Counties.

Cal-Ore President Dan Brattain said, “Our heartfelt thanks go out to our community for supporting this memorial fund in honor of our fallen crew. We are pleased to keep their memories alive by assisting students in pursuing a career of service to others.”

Donations may be made online at www.HAFoundation.org/Cal-Ore, or sent to Wild Rivers Community Foundation, 990 Front Street, Crescent City CA 95531. Please note that the monies are designated for the Cal-Ore Life Flight Team Memorial Scholarship Fund.



Update: August 12, 2016 / Santa Rosa, CA

Honoring Those We Lost 
On July 29, 2016, a Cal-Ore Life Flight airplane crash took the lives of Pilot Larry Mills, Certified Flight Paramedic Michelle Tarwater, Flight Nurse Deborah Kroon, and their patient, April Rodriguez.

Memorial Service Flight Team

Pilot Larry Mills was a man of few words and many smiles. He leaves behind his wife Trina Mills, and his daughter, Chanda Mills. Larry enjoyed many activities including sailing, karate, flying, hiking, and playing the drums. He was a volunteer firefighter for 12 years in his hometown in Illinois. Larry was an exceptional pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience. He loved flying and said it was the only job in the world where he could do something he loved while being of service to others. Larry had been with Cal-Ore Life Flight since April of this year.

Flight Nurse Deborah Kroon came to this country from New Zealand. She spent 25 years as a critical care nurse working in hospitals across the U.S. Friends describe her as a free spirit who adored horses, her dog, Oscar, and the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. She was on of those rare people who made everything around her better. When she arrived in Del Norte County in Northern California, she fell in love with the area and made Crescent City her home. She had been with Cal-Ore since October of 2014.

Certified Flight Paramedic Michelle Tarwater loved her noble work. She was especially proud to be one of the first in the region to receive National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians-Paramedic (NREMT-P) certification. Her mother said she knew Michelle would be a caregiver since the day she was born. Family and friends agree Michelle lived larger than life. She enjoyed gardening, fishing, hiking, camping and people, but there was nothing more important to her than her faith and her family. Michelle had been with Cal-Ore since 2011.

Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we are not writing about their patient, April Rodriquez.

On Wednesday, August 3, 2016, a public safety agency procession left Crescent City, CA with nearly 60 emergencies vehicles representing ground ambulances, fire, rescue, police and sheriff’s departments among them. They traveled up Highway 101 to the memorial service held in Azalea Park in Brookings, OR. It was a beautiful tribute to our crewmembers and their patient. The outpouring of love and support was a great comfort to their families, friends, and the EMS community. For those who could not attend, we would like to share the Memorial Service Video from News Channel 3 out of Eureka, CA.

Candlelight vigils were held to honor the lives of Larry, Michelle, Deborah and April. More than forty air ambulance providers and EMS agencies from across the United States — Oregon, California, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming — held candlelight ceremonies to pay tribute. We would like to share the Candlelight Vigils for Cal-Ore Life Flight video with you.

Cal-Ore Life Flight Team Memorial Scholarship Fund Established
To honor our lost crew members, a memorial scholarship fund has been established to support education for aviation, flight nursing, and flight paramedics in Curry and Del Norte Counties. Donations may be sent to or dropped off at Wild Rivers Community Foundation, 990 Front Street, Crescent City CA 95531. Donations can also be made online at www.HAFoundation.org/Cal-Ore. Please note that the monies are designated for the Cal-Ore Life Flight Team Memorial Scholarship Fund.

A Very Special Letter
As we move forward, we want to leave you with a very special letter. At the memorial service, Michelle Tarwater’s step-father, Bryan Horne, read an incredible letter that Michelle had written to her mother, Nancy Horne, five years earlier. With unimaginable foresight, the letter was intended to be of comfort to her mother in the event something were to happen to Michelle while doing what she loved most—helping others in their time of need. To Michelle, it wasn’t a job—it was her life’s calling. ‘

The family would like to share Michelle’s letter with the hope it will provide some comfort to the EMS community. On behalf of Nancy Horne and the entire family, it is an honor to share Michelle Tarwater’s letter with you.

Michelle Tarwater's Letter
Read Michelle Tarwater’s Letter


Cal-Ore Life Flight – Accident Update
August 8, 2016 – 9:00 AM PST / Santa Rosa, CA

We want to thank everyone who participated in the memorial procession and service held Wednesday, August 3, 2016 to honor the lives of Cal-Ore Life Flight Pilot Larry Mills, Flight Nurse Deborah Kroon, and Certified Flight Paramedic Michelle Tarwater. Starting with the public safety agency procession in Crescent City, CA and ending with the memorial service in Azalea Park in Brookings, OR, the outpouring of love and support was a great comfort to family, friends, and the entire EMS community.

For those of you who could not attend, we would like to share the Memorial Service Video from News Channel 3 out of Eureka, CA.

Due to the current NTSB investigation, we cannot comment further on the accident itself. We will post non-accident related information as it becomes available.

Contact:
Anna Blair, Vice President
Business Relations & Development
REACH Air Medical Services
(707) 508-6204 | Anna.Blair@REACHair.com



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2016 – 12:00 PM PST / Santa Rosa, CA

Memorial Service & Public Safety Procession
Schedule of Events – Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Crescent City, CA – Crescent City Harbor
12:00 – Public Safety Procession staging
12:30 – Procession departs for Brookings

Brookings, OR – Azalea Park
01:00 – Memorial Service seating begins
02:30 – Public Safety Procession arrives
03:00 – Memorial Service
04:00 – Post-Service Reception

Crescent City Harbor
101 Citizens Dock Road
Crescent City, CA

Azalea Park (gather at the Band Shell)
640 Old County Road
Brookings, OR

Public Safety Procession:
The Public Safety Procession will include ONLY apparatus from public safety agencies. No personal vehicles will be able to participate.

Arrival Time:
If you wish to have a seat at the memorial service, please plan on arriving at Azalea Park no later than 1:00 PM.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2016 / Santa Rosa, CA

Memorial Procession & Service Planned
for Cal-Ore Life Flight Crew Members

On Wednesday, August 3, 2016, a memorial procession and service will take place to honor the Cal-Ore Life Flight crew members who lost their lives while on duty serving others: Fixed-Wing Pilot Larry Mills, Flight Nurse Deborah Kroon, RN, CCRN, and Certified Flight Paramedic Michelle Tarwater, FP-C, NREMT-P.

Family, friends, co-workers, and members of the public safety and emergency services community are invited with the public to join in the celebration of their lives.

At 12:00 PM, staging for a Public Safety and Emergency Services apparatus procession will take place in Crescent City, CA . At 12:30 PM, the procession will travel up Highway 101 to Brookings, OR, to arrive at the memorial service site by 2:30 PM. All Public Safety and Emergency Services agencies are invited to participate in the procession. Interested agencies are asked to contact Crescent City Fire Battalion Chief James Weiland at (707) 954-2063. The Public Safety Procession will include ONLY apparatus from public safety agencies. No personal vehicles will be able to participate.

At 3:00 PM, the memorial service will take place at the band shell in Azalea Park located at 640 Old County Road in Brookings. Due to the large turnout expected, seating will begin at 1:00 PM for the service.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Contact:
Anna Blair, Vice President
Business Relations & Development
REACH Air Medical Services
(707) 508-6204 | Anna.Blair@REACHair.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2016 – 4:00 PM PST / Santa Rosa, CA



Cal-Ore Life Flight Airplane Accident
Recovery Efforts Underway

REACH Air Medical Services and Cal-Ore Life Flight are in recovery mode after the July 29, 2016 loss of an airplane carrying three crew members and a patient. Communication was lost early Friday morning when the aircraft heading from Crescent City Airport to Oakland International Airport went off radar northeast of the Arcata, CA. Search efforts were delayed due to the difficult terrain and weather and it was hours before the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue teams were able to locate the crash site north of McKinleyville, CA. They initially reported two fatalities. It was later confirmed there were no survivors.

In addition to the patient, there were three Cal-Ore Life Flight personnel on board: Pilot Larry Mills, Flight Nurse Deborah Kroon, RN, CCRN, and Certified Flight Paramedic Michelle Tarwater, FP-C, NREMT-P. Family, friends and coworkers have provided some information about the crew that we have lost.

Pilot Larry Mills was loved by everyone who knew him. He was a devoted father and husband. He had more than 20 years of flying experience and was a volunteer first responder for 12 years. His wife, Trina, shared that Larry was kind, gentle and always smiling. He had been with Cal-Ore since April of this year.

Flight Nurse Deborah Kroon came to this country from New Zealand. She spent 25 years as a critical care nurse working in hospitals across the U.S. Those close to her said she was a free spirit who adored horses and her dog, Oscar. When she came to Del Norte County, she fell in love with the area. Deborah made Crescent City her home and was searching for some property to build her Wee cottage. She had been with Cal-Ore since October of 2014.

Certified Flight Paramedic Michelle Tarwater loved her noble work. She was especially proud to be one of the first in the region to receive National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians-Paramedic (NREMT-P) certification. Her mother said she knew Michelle would be a caregiver since the day she was born. Family and friends agree Michelle lived larger than life. She enjoyed gardening, fishing, hiking, camping and people, but there was nothing more important to her than her faith and her family. Michelle had been with Cal-Ore since 2011.

Due to privacy concerns for the family, the company cannot share any information about the patient at this time.

Upon confirmation of the accident, REACH President Sean Russell held a company-wide call with all employees to share the news. “This is one of the saddest moments in our history. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the patient and our crewmembers.” Mr. Russell acknowledged the road ahead would be difficult for all involved. Memorial services for the crew are being planned for later this week.

The cause of the accident is unknown at this time. Mr. Russell added, “We all have the same questions, but until we have factual reports from the NTSB, there is nothing more we can share.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is on scene investigating the accident. They expect to have a preliminary report sometime in the next 10 to 14 days, but it is uncertain when REACH will be able to release information about the investigation to the public. Please know that we will provide updates as soon as we are allowed to do so. All communication related to the aircraft will be through the NTSB.