Saturday morning marked the final farewell for the two men who were killed when an EagleMed helicopter crashed in northwest Oklahoma City late last week.
Family, friends and co-workers paid their respects to the pilot and nurse killed when EagleMed-7 went down. Pilot Mark Montgomery and flight nurse Chris Denning were both hailed as heroes during the memorial service at Crossings Community Church.
A somber final call for EagleMed-7 played throughout the church. The dispatcher announcing EagleMed-7 was out of service and proclaimed "be at peace."
The chopper crashed between the St. Ann's Nursing Home and St. Ann's Retirement Center, in a parking lot. Witnesses saw the chopper go down and catch fire. Several nurses inside the nursing home and good Samaritans raced toward the burning wreckage and pulled out medic Billy Wynne just moments before the wrecked helicopter exploded. Montgomery and Denning did not make it out alive.
EagleMed's president Larry Bugg called Montgomery a master pilot and Denning a professional healer.
"Mark was an excellent pilot. A master aviator who spent the last seconds of his life trying to save others. Chris was a professional healer who mentored many and saved untold lives and through his expertise as a nurse brought life to many," Bugg said.
Friends who worked with the two men shared stories about Montgomery and Denning at the service and pledged the support for their families. They shared laughs and tears as they remembered their EagleMed brothers. A slide-show of pictures showed the two men have fun with their families and friends.
"Chris had a quiet calmness that inspired confidence in him, brought a peace when you were around him. Chris didn't talk about himself, he would always talk about you," co-worker Michael Dore said.
"Mark was my brother. He was my oldest brother, he really was. And I'm not saying goodbye to him, I can't, because I know he's waiting for me," co-worker Mike Koval added.
In a final salute, four medical helicopters flew overhead as a crowd of several hundred people paid their last respects to the two men who lost their lives in the crash.
OU Medical Center Chaplain Mike McElroy updated the congregation on Billy Wynne's condition on Saturday morning, too. He said Wynne was breathing on his own without help from the ventilator and his skin grafts had been going well. Doctors have also performed surgery on his spine and repaired his ankle.
The company has also established an assistance fund for the families of the two men killed. People can send donations to EagleMed 7 Crew, 6601 W. Pueblo, Wichita, Kansas, 67209.