Postings 251-300: Tribute to the Med Flight Crew

On May 10, 2008, a UW Hospital and Clinics Med Flight helicopter crashed near the La Crosse airport after transporting a patient to a La Crosse hospital. On board were emergency medicine physician Darren Bean, MD, flight nurse Mark Coyne, RN, and pilot Steve Lipperer.

Darren, Mark and Steve represented the very best in compassionate patient care and they will be deeply missed by all members of the UW Health family who knew and respected this courageous and committed Med Flight crew.

The condolences and personal memories in these pages were submitted from May 11-June 20. Thank you to those who have shared your support for the UW Health community and the family and friends of the dedicated Med Flight crew members killed in the crash.
Darren Bean, MD

Darren Bean, MD


Mark Coyne, RN

Mark Coyne, RN


Steve Lipperer, Med Flight pilot

Steve Lipperer, pilot

Tribute Message Board
Submitted by: Roni, family
My heart and prayers go out to the families of the Med Flight crash. I personally knew the pilot and he was a good man. My deepest condolences go to his wife, Desiree; his parents, Ray and Diane; his brothers Jeff and his wife Jodi, and Greg, and his two nephews, Corey and Nathan. Love to you all.
Submitted by: Jean, colleague
What a terrible loss. I've always admired the work done by our Med Flight teams, their dedication and caring is always a blessing during difficult moments. Many thanks to this marvelous team. May their loved ones find peace in the good that they did for others.
Submitted by:Paul Drucker, friend
Mayo Clinic Medical Transport sends its deepest condolences to the University of Wisconsin-Madison family. We mourn with you and send you our thoughts and prayers. 
- Paul Drucker
Mayo Clinic Medical Transport
Submitted by:Ruth Steinhoff
Our entire family shares in your tragic loss of these outstanding members of the medical profession. Through several years of treatment at the UW Health system for our family members, we have witnessed these dedicated team members time and again. The pilots have personally "entertained" and educated our grandson while his "mommy" has been hospitalized countless times at the UW Hospital. The constant sounds of Med Flight always tugs at our hearts, knowing someone is in serious need of critical care, and medical staff is risking their lives to deliver this expert care. We always send a silent prayer to both the patient, and the flight members. As an employee and patient of Gundersen Lutheran, we witness the same in our facility. Watching a family member being prepared for the flight, and the intensity of the medical/flight crew is an awe-inspiring experience. May the families, friends and colleagues of these wonderful individuals find comfort in knowing they lost their lives in their chosen life work... to selflessly give for the health of others. We will always continue that silent prayer when we see or hear Med Flight and remember your lost family members.
Submitted by: Elan Singer, MD, friend
Although I haven't seen Darren since we graduated from medical school it is no surprise that so many of you that work with him have written such heartfelt tributes. You all realized, as I did, that he was a special kind of person - cool under pressure, impeccable ethical standards and a contageous smile. Those who knew him and those who never got a chance to have all suffered a great loss. God bless you Darren Bean. Our prayers are with you, Stacey and your two beautiful children.
Submitted by: Connie
My deepest sympathy to all the family and friends that have been touched by this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Submitted by: Linda Burns
Med Flight was dispatched for our son May 4th. As a family we cannot say enough on the care that was given to our son by your response team. Our prayers go out to the families, you will be forever in our minds, hearts and prayers.
Submitted by: Linda Norris
I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of these remarkable men who put their lives at risk every single day of their work life to help other people. It really makes me feel sad for such a loss, even though I never knew them personally. They will always be remembered!! The Med Flight crews have always been the BEST. Both of my parents needed them at different times in their lives, and they would never have made it if is wasn't for Med Flight.
Submitted by: K4
Submitted by: Teresa Pearson, colleague
Please know all of you are in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time... God bless you all.
- Teresa Pearson
LifeTeam Kansas
Submitted by: Ray and Virginia, friends
Our prayers and condolences to the families of the three men killed in this tragic accident. We have known Mark since he was ten years old and remember him as a delightful and funny child. We were friends of his parents, Lad and Tony, and recall how proud they were of his efforts in the medical field. Our love and prayers are sent to his wife, brother, sisters, and other family. Know that you are loved.
- Ray and Virginia
Submitted by:Shellie Ott, friend
I offer my most sincere condolences to the families of Dr. Bean, Mark Coyne, and Steve Lipperer. I knew Steve many years ago, and always admired his dedication to his life's work. He was a wonderful soul. The world has lost a soft-spoken, kind-hearted, good and selfless man. They are all heroes, and they will be missed. God bless the flight crew and their families.
Submitted by: Sandy Craig, MD, colleague
The Emergency Medicine Residency at Carolinas Medical Center has lost one of its brightest stars. Darren's optimism, boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm for emergency medicine, family and life will never be forgotten. My most profound condolences to Stacey, Parker and Caitlyn and to the friends and family of Mark and Steve.
Submitted by: Kathy
I did not know the Med Flight staff personally, but I have had several family members transported by Med Flight over the years. My brother was one of the first patients who was transported from an accident scene by Med Flight, my niece was transported after her foot was severed by a lawn mower and my sister was transported after an auto accident. I send my sympathy to the families and friends of the crew and my prayers are with you. We know have 3 new wonderful angels to guide us into the future. Thank you for your dedication and expert care of all the patients you helped with.
Submitted by:Aras Tijunelis, colleague and friend
God bless Mark, Darren and Steve. I pray that God give strength to their families and that their families take comfort knowing that they were doing something that was for the benefit of others (as the saying goes, "...So that others may live."). May they fly on the wings of angels.
Submitted by: Margaret, EMT, RN, colleague
God bless these Heroes of the Sky! Dr. Bean, Mark, and Steve were the best of the best! May you rest in peace.
Submitted by: Mary
Our condolences to all the UW employees that had the privilege to work with these three caring, dedicated gentlemen throughout their lives. I know they will be greatly missed. The UW has lost three very important people in their lives but also their families. Condolences to the three families of these gentlemen and may the Lord give you strength, faith, and get you through this terrible loss. I know they will never be forgotten. I did not know any of these gentlemen, but believe me I have felt the loss. Med Flight flies right above my house in Portage, and every time it does I always say a prayer for all aboard and the person they were about to pick up for medical transportation to get medical help ASAP. God Bless you all - their colleagues, friends, family.
Submitted by: Sharon Kinney, RN
I am so sorry for your loss; you have my deepest sympathy.
Submitted by:LaVona Grissinger
Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with the families and the colleagues from the Med Flight crew. They were out there serving our patients and doing what they do best. They are truly heroes in my eyes. God Speed to all.
- LaVona Grissinger, Patient Liaison
Gundersen Lutheran Onalaska, Lab
Submitted by: Chris McGraw
I was heartbroken to hear the news of this tragic accident. The loss of any life is devastating, which is why these three men have done the work they have for all these years. But the loss of a heroic life is more painful still. May their families, friends and colleagues know that people all over the state share the grief at their loss, and are grateful for all that these men gave in the course of their work. They are heroes and examples for so many.
Submitted by: Ryan and Melissa Berry
On behalf of the Berry family, we would like to send our condolences to those closest to this caring and motivated clinical team. There has always been great comfort in knowing that this team was readily available for all of us. Their professionalism and commitment to our community cannot be measured.
- Ryan, Melissa, Hunter, and Brayden Berry
Submitted by: Anna Kelly
My thoughts and prayers are with all of the people affected by this tragic loss. May God be with the victims, family, and friends who are affected by this. Remember we don't always know why things happen, but God is with you and will help you get through the hard times. God Bless.
Submitted by: Tom Stevens
Five years ago, I had a dangerous heart rhythm that sent me rushing to the emergency room. Dr. Bean was both calming and firm in the need to cardiovert me. Without his expertise, I might not be here today to write this condolence. My thoughts are with his family and the family, friends, and colleagues of all who were lost in the crash. It is a huge loss.
Submitted by: Andy Meister
I would like to express deepest condolences to all the families and staff involved on behalf of myself and the Medical College of Wisconsin emergency medicine residency. Dr. Bean was a truly outstanding emergency physician and teacher who will be greatly missed. He was well-liked and respected across all services of the hospital - even among residents coming in to do late night ER consults.
- Andy Meister
UW Medical School '06
MCW emergency medicine resident and flight physician - Flight for Life Milwaukee
Submitted by:Jeff Gaver, MD, UW Health colleague
Darren, Mark, and Steve were the finest colleagues a doctor could have. I cherish the many years we had together and the experiences we shared. These men were truly heroes and brought compassion and expertise to the EMS system, and particularly the flight program. My deepest sympathy to their families. I had the privilege of serving as a flight doctor with them. They were special people, and I will miss them.
Submitted by: Joyce N.
My heart sank as my husband told me of the tragic news. I can't seem to find any words that make sense. Prior to 2008, I worked for UW Hospital for 6 years and helped Med Flight dispatch out in times of need. All of the crew members are amazing and will always be heroes to me! Mark was my EMT instructor - very professional, dedicated and funny. Dr. Bean's dedication to the medical community was truly inspirational. My thoughts are with the families, friends and co-workers of these great men. Seeing Med Flight fly over my house now takes on new meaning. May they rest in peace.
Submitted by: Jill
Wanted to send my prayers to the families, friends, and coworkers of these three most talented people in the healthcare field. Thoughts are with everyone during this time of such great loss. Sincerely,
- Jill
Gundersen Lutheran/Tri County Memorial Employee
Whitehall, Wisconsin
Submitted by:Stoughton Hospital
Stoughton Hospital extends our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of these fine gentlemen as well as to the entire UW Hospital team. We hold the Med Flight program in very high regard. Their work and dedication is vital to our organization as well as many other rural hospitals in WI. We plan to honor those who have perished as well as those who serve Med Flight with a memorial photo in our ER. We hope every time the Med Flight crew passes by this photo, they are reminded of our deepest gratitude for their service.
Submitted by: Dave Chase, colleague
"Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn's rain, When you awaken in the morning hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the soft star that shines at night, Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there; I did not die." - Joan L. Dawson Evans. In every life these three men have touched, their spirit lives on. It is left to us to continue to teach, to continue to heal, and to continue to care. To the best of our abilities each and every day; each and every patient; each and every chance we get. Sadly, we have lost three family members; but we have gained three guardian angels. My deepest sympathies to the families of Darren, Mark and Steve and to all who have lost a friend or colleague as a result of this tragedy.
- Dave Chase, CCEMT-Paramedic EMS Educator
Submitted by:Karen Hafenstein
There is a Bible verse that says what these men were all about... John 15:3 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Submitted by:Azam Ahmed, UW Health colleague and friend
Darren was a great friend, physician, and teacher. In the true spirit of Osler, Darren lived neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day's work absorb his entire energies, and satisfy his widest ambition. You will be missed.
Submitted by:Cathy Silver, RN, UW Health colleague
On the morning of March 6, my husband Jim had a cardiac arrest. The policeman who responded, and then the Madison and Fitchrona EMS used CCR during his 45 minute resuscitation, after which he was transferred to the UW ER. Throughout the next 2 and a half weeks, while my husband was cooled to preserve his brain function, underwent a cardiac cath which showed that his heart was 100% occluded and had bypass surgery, Darren Bean was a vital part of our support system. He visited often, telephoned when he was not in the hospital, and was always upbeat and encouraging. I will never forget the day he sat down and said to me, "Tell me about your husband. I want to know what he is like." He truly cared about Jim as a person, not just a body lying in a bed. He never let us forget that Jim could, and would, recover, and he was right. On March 22, Jim came home healthy and neurologically intact. My children and I owe so much to Darren and the paramedics he trained. They gave Jim back to us. This is such a loss for all of us here at UW Hospital and the Madison area. He will be truly missed. He and his family are in our prayers.
- Cathy Silver, RN
UW Health Sports Medicine Clinic
Submitted by: Vickie Hanson
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the Med Flight team.
Submitted by: Lora
Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: Deal graciously with the families, friends and colleagues of Darren, Mark and Steve in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Lora
Gundersen Lutheran
Submitted by:Denise Grafenberg
My prayers are with all who knew the Med Flight crew.
Submitted by:Andrea Aspenson
My condolences go out to the families, friends, and colleagues of the Med Flight crew members.
Submitted by:Marilyn Mihm
So sorry for your loss. How tragic. You are in my prayers.
Submitted by: Bob Key
My condolences to the families and friends of the Med Flight crew.
- Bob Key
Libertyville Fire Department
Submitted by: Mary Jo
Dear family members,
Your loved ones' dedication to helping others will always be remembered. May you be filled with wonderful memories and comforted by faith, family and friends. Thank you to those so dedicated. - Mary Jo (lab employee at the Prairie du Chien Clinic, also a recipient of Med Flight care from LaCrosse). That team saved my life as I know the team from UW has done many times for others.
Submitted by: Kim Miller, FACHE, colleague
Everyone at Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc. sends heartfelt condolences for the loss of Dr. Bean, Mark Coyne, and Steve Lipperer. Our community has been so very well-served by these Med Flight professionals' dedication and life-saving hard work. They will be remembered with admiration by our emergency department staff particularly, who had the honor to work with them when they flew patients to or from our Beaver Dam Community Hospital. As recently as April 26, Mr. Lipperer flew the helicopter here for our community's Safety First Open House and landed safely in our parking lot in spite of a very gusty wind. He clearly was a brave and competent pilot dedicated to saving lives, committed to safety, and willing to give his time - and now his life - to his community and state. We are saddened by this tragic loss and share your grief.
- Kim Miller, FACHE, President/CEO
Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc.
Submitted by: Jean, patient
My prayers go out to the family and friends of Dr. Darren Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer. I had the brief privilege of meeting Dr. Bean at UW Hospital's emergency room when I was brought in with chest pain. Fortunately for me, it was nothing serious, but I remember how nice Dr. Bean was and his gentle reassurance that I would be fine. That was a couple of years ago and I still remember his kindness. I have several health problems and every time I hear or see the UW helicopter go over my house it gives me comfort knowing that they would be there for me and my family in the time of need. I'm very saddened at the tragic loss of these wonderful caring individuals. May God Bless them and may He give comfort to their families and friends.
Submitted by:Barb, UW Health colleague
Darren Bean was a colleague and someone I admired and respected daily. He loved his job and gave more than 100% every day. He and I were working in the ED one night when my son arrived with a head laceration. He offered to fix it and treated my son as though he were his own. I saw him the day he died doing what he loved. He had just brought a patient into the ED. He was talking and soaking up the loving teasing from colleagues calling him "professor." He always had a gleam in his eye and maintained calm composure whether he was helping to save a life or faced with multiple demands on his time. I will miss him and my heart goes out to Dr. Stacey Bean and their beautiful children who I had the pleasure of meeting last year at the ED picnic.
Submitted by: Pam, colleague
You have my deepest sympathies and are in my prayers, all of you and your families.
Submitted by:Clesson Turner, MD, friend
As a medical school classmate of Darren's I was not surprised to learn about the immense dedication he had for his work and family. I wish I had learned of it under better circumstances. My heart goes out to all the family and friends who lost someone in this tragedy.
- Clesson Turner, MD
UVM College of Medicine '99
Submitted by: Brian Simpson, RN, colleague
We here at the University of Utah and AirMed know the pain and sorrow that everyone at UW must be feeling. We lost our friends and colleagues 10 years ago in a similar accident. A poem written by our past manager: It broke our hearts to lose you, but you didn't go alone. A part of us went with you, the day you were called home. A million times we missed you, a million times we've cried. If love could have saved you, none of you would have died. If tears could build a stairway, and heartache make a lane, we'd walk a million miles to bring you back again. You are in our thoughts and prayers. My condolences go out to their family, friends, and colleagues.
- Brian Simpson, RN
Program Manager, University of Utah AirMed
Submitted by:Julie Sandvick
My thoughts and prayers are with all the family members who lost their loved ones in this crash Saturday night.
Submitted by:Surgery Clinic Nurses and MAs, UW Health colleagues
To the families of our departed comrades. Your loss is our loss and the feeling in our hearts today is unexplainable. May you all be protected from the deep sadness here and ahead of you. Your men will always be remembered and cherished. Thank you for sharing them.
Submitted by:Barb, UW Health colleague
I don't have any specific stories about Mark but every time we worked together, he would have the same smile, he would make it a point to talk with colleagues in the ED. He was dedicated to his work and always professional. Mark, we miss you already and don't understand why you had to go too early.
Submitted by:Kelly, UW Health colleague
As a fellow employee at UWHC, I always feel pride and say a little prayer for the people on every Med Flight I see in the air. I want to offer the family and friends of these brave souls my condolences, prayers, and well wishes for this grievous time and for the difficult times ahead. Thank you to all Med Flight staffers nationwide... your daily risks, your compassion, and the gift of life that you give to others is greatly appreciated.
Submitted by: Ken Solis, MD, MA, colleague
My sincere condolences and sympathy to the families, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer. After working many years in the rural hospitals served by UW Med Flight, I can tell you that our staffs always breathed a sigh of relief when the flight team arrived to help us out with patients that had bigger problems than we could manage. At the same time, I always worried about the real potential risks of air transport which these brave folks take despite a mortality rate (due to crashes) that exceeds that of fire fighting. So sad to see it happen to the good folks involved. Although I know many of the excellent ER docs at UW, I didn't personally get to know Dr. Bean. However, a nurse I worked with who rotated at UWH had the highest praise for him, and his enthusiasm for improving ER medical care was already becoming well known even in the rural "hinterlands." Godspeed to all of you.
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