Postings 401-450: 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: Debra Paron, RN
My dear UW Colleagues: I heard about your loss on the news, and I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the the entire UW Medical Center community as well as the families and friends of your fallen heroes. It is quickly approaching the first anniversary of our own loss which occurred on June 4, 2007 - the crash of our Survival Flight aircraft which was returning to the University of Michigan Medical Center after our team had procured a pair of lungs for transplant in Milwaukee. This impending commemoration has put us, at the University of Michigan, once again more keenly in mind of the fact that we are a part of a much larger community of caregivers and healers; and that the foundation of our abilities rests on the shoulders of people like your Med Flight crews, and our Survival Flight crews - people who take substantial risks every day in order to save those whose lives hang in the most precarious of balances. Thank you, Darren. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Steve. The three of you are heroes, and the memory of your valor will continue to inspire us all. Most sincerely, Deb.
- Deb Paron, RN
Clinical Nursing Supervisor, UMH Transplant
Submitted by: Linda
God bless the families of all involved in this tragic event. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time. I'm sure they died doing what they loved. God bless and take care of each other.
- Linda, Nursing Assistant
Gundersen Lutheran Hospital
Submitted by: Bobbi Morley
My prayers go out to the families and friends of the crew. May God give you the strength to help you through this time of sorrow. Your loved ones had tremendous dedication to the lives of others and for that we thank them! Their jobs are done and know they can rest with God. Darren, Mark and Steve. Thank you again for all you have done for the lives of others! Gratefully Yours, A Fellow Nurse.
Submitted by: Niki Fortune
I just wanted to send my condolences to the whole UW family. I am an EMT in Minneapolis, Minn. for LifeLink 3. It saddened me to hear about your loss. You all will be in my thoughts and prayers. Everyone in our field feels your loss and will be there for all of you in your time of need.
- Niki Fortune
LifeLink III EMT, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Submitted by: Megan, student
My deepest condolences go out to all family members and friends of these wonderful people. Mark Coyne was my instructor, he will be greatly missed.
Submitted by: Robert Senn
I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the UW Med Flight Crew. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Submitted by: Glen Rhodes
I am sincerely sorry about the Med Flight helicopter crash. A couple years ago I was Med Flighted from Reedsburg to the UW Hospital where I had an emergency angioplasty. If not for Med Flight, I might not be alive today. Every time I hear Med Flight fly over us on their way to the hospital here in Reedsburg, I think of how they saved my life and how grateful I am that they exist and perform this service. I am sure there are scores of thousands of patients and their family members who feel the same way. Now when they fly over, I'll be thinking of the risk they take flying so often, and remembering this terrible news about the crash. Those are the sort of people we need to see on reality shows... we can learn from their dedication and willingness to help others.
Submitted by: Fort HealthCare and Fort Memorial Hospital Emergency Department
On behalf of all the staff and physicians at Fort HealthCare and the Fort Memorial Hospital Emergency Service, we wish to express our most profound sadness and sincere sense of loss. We had the pleasure of working with each of these dedicated individuals as colleagues, students and as friends. They will be mourned by many, missed by many more. May God save those who cannot now be saved by Darren, Mark and Steve.
Submitted by: Donna May
My deepest sympathy and prayers to the family and friends of the Med Flight crew. We all realize how important their jobs were to the whole tri-state area. It is a great loss for the whole community and more.
- Donna May
Gundersen Lutheran
Submitted by: Tony Guzman, RN
My deepest sympathy and prayers to the family and friends of the Med Flight crew. They gave their lives to help those in need - the most noble of causes. Their courage and care gave hope, gave life. The memory of these brave men and all their endeavors will bring shining light to this cloudy day with all my heart. Peace be with you.
- Tony Guzman, RN, EMT
Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center
Submitted by: Anu Rao, MD
I graduated from the UW Internal Medicine program last year and had the pleasure of working with Dr. Bean. He was a true professional who always went the extra mile to care for his patients. He always had a smile or kind word for us, even on the busiest, most stressful nights. My deepest condolences to his family and also to Dr. LaCharite. These men are real-life heroes and have left behind a legacy of excellent service. They will truly be missed.
Submitted by: Beth Niblack-Sykes, UW Health colleague and friend
I have known Mark for so long , in so many capacities, I can't recall where we first met in the 1980s. I knew him as an EMT: a fantastic instructor, his credibility and humor made the endless recert hours go by quickly. As a nursing student/nursing assistant who frequently floated to the PICU - I viewed him as a mentor. As a volunteer on a medical flight crew as an EMT and later as a nurse, I frequently sought out his advice. As a colleague, when the Med Flight team brought critically ill patients to the Neuro ICU, I knew that they had received the ultimate in medical care. While I did not have the honor of knowing Darren Bean and Steve Lipperer personally, I know that Mark spoke of all his Med Flight colleagues with the utmost respect and admiration. When Mark stopped up for a visit to the Neuro ICU just a night before the crash, we shared a laugh (another one of Mark's jokes...) and talked shop. Mark knew how to work hard and play hard. He loved to fly, and he loved his work. May we live by his example. My condolences to the family and friends of these exceptional professionals.
Submitted by: Stephanie Sejut, student
I had Mark as an EMT instructor this semester. Even in such a short amount of time, we all grew to like and respect him. Class was a little more bearable with Mark's interesting sense of humor. He was an excellent educator that was willing to share his passion for emergency medicine with anyone. I learned so much from Mark that I will forever carry with me in my career as an EMT. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Submitted by: Vicki Morton, health care professional
My heart goes out to the family and friends of these brave individuals. Their commitment to the mission of their profession is honorable. I did not know the victims, but am in the skies all the time for my occupation as an organ donation coordinator. It is truly a tragedy to hear of their lives lost. The families will remain in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry.
- Vicki Morton
LifeSource, Lakeville, Minn.
Submitted by: Gina Greenwood, UW Health colleague
My sincere and heartfelt sympathy to all of the family, friends and close colleagues of Darren, Mark and Steve. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. As many others have stated, I did not know these guys personally; however, it only takes a moment or two of reading these tributes to understand the gravity of this loss. These men lived and died serving others in a selfless manner. Clearly, it was what they did best and what they loved to do.
Submitted by: Bobbie Salveson, RN, CPNP, colleague
I read about this horrible accident this morning in the subway paper in New York on my way to work. I worked nights in the PICU at UW from 1987 until 1997 and Mark was intelligent, funny, and provided excellent care to the children flown to our unit. My heart goes out to Ann and the other family members. I'm so very sorry for the loss of such wonderful, dedicated people.
Submitted by: Denise, colleague
May their names be for a blessing.
Submitted by: Dave Dobson, RN, CFRN
Words cannot express the shock and grief you are going through right now or the sadness that is felt by the whole AirMedical community at this tragic event. You are in all our thoughts and prayers through this most difficult time. You will find support in all your AirMedical brethren as we did when we lost our pilot "Jimmer" in 2006. To Darren, Mark, and Steve: May you have fair winds and blue skies. Godspeed.
- Dave Dobson
Eagle III AirMedical, Green Bay, Wis.
Submitted by: Nancy O'Donnell, RN
I am sorry for the loss of your brave and dedicated flight crew. They are an inspiration to each of us that give ourselves to our patients everyday!
- Nancy O'Donnell
Gunderson Lutheran Hospital
Submitted by: Jane Spratler
I had Mark Coyne as an instructor many years ago for a class. He was an excellent teacher and a fine person. Mark, your legacy is the EMTs and Paramedics that you taught. Your work will continue on in them. My deepest condolences to the families of all three men. This is a terrible loss.
Submitted by: Denise Landis
On behalf of the University of Michigan Survival Flight staff, we send our thoughts and prayers. The days ahead will be long and difficult. Please know that we understand, take care and God Bless.
- Denise Landis
University of Michigan Survival Flight staff

Submitted by: Tim
To all three families, you have my deepest sympathy. Steve, god speed brother. I consider myself lucky to have known you as a colleague and friend.
Submitted by: Bob and Marlyn Bauer, friend, family and student
Mark was our cousin and we have know him since he was very young. Loved to go to Uncle Tony's farm in the Plain area. I was an EMT on the Plain Ambulance crew and Mark was our teacher for refresher courses. He was the BEST! We were so proud of him flying with Med Flight. We also knew Mark as a friend and met him and Anne, Bruce and Sherri for a couple of cold ones at Ideal Tap in Plain. He will be greatly missed. Our sincere sympathy!
Submitted by: John Crooks, former Madison firefighter
In years past, I worked with various Med Flight crews at three fire departments. It does not take long to realize the depth of the commitment, sacrifice and bravery that these fine men and women exemplify in the line of duty. Truly, "greater love has no man than to lay down his life for another." Thank you for giving the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others. Our deepest condolences go to the families of these men. May God Himself comfort you in your time of deep grief.
Submitted by: Mike, colleague
I feel amazing pride seeing Med Flight flying with the UW logo on it. It is true dedication to patient care when you fly to the sickest of patients to offer them care and fast transport. I have a background as an EMT and it has always been reassuring knowing, when needed, an amazing crew will be available to offer assistance. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family, friends and colleagues that are grieving this tremendous loss. I will miss seeing them around the hospital.
Submitted by: Jennifer Allred, colleague and student
As an EMT, I have trained with Mark Coyne and from within the community I have heard many great things about him. To Mark's family, I would say how sorry I am for your loss and that I truly believe that he is now a magnificent angel that will bring great fortune to the heavens. I have dealt with Dr. Bean as the director of Madison Fire and EMS for personal reasons and he was most attentive and responsive to my family. To Dr. Bean's family, I say that I am sorry for your loss and I thank you wholeheartedly for sharing him with the rest of the community that benefited from his time so much. To all of the Med Flight crew, and I believe I speak for most if not all EMS, we hold you in the highest regard for all that you do and the risks that you take. To your families, I hope that you can take at least some small comfort in knowing that your loved ones have forever left their mark on this world in a powerful and healing manner.
Submitted by: Steve, colleague and student
Mark made me a better EMT by conducting refreshers and training me to be EMT-IV qualified. I'll miss seeing them all in the halls.
Submitted by: Jana Williams, colleague
Our hearts are broken as we have lost these heroes, these friends...and the world has lost something special. Know you are in the thoughts and prayers of many who feel your pain, understand the sacrifice, and continue the mission. On behalf of our team, our deepest sympathy.
Submitted by: Elaine Winkel, MD, friend and colleague
I only recently met Darren Bean but was impressed by his dedication and high standard of patient care. I will honor him and his memory by continuing to give the same level of care. My sincerest condolences to the families of Darren, Steve and Mark.
Submitted by: Sharon Budd, nurse practitioner
My deepest sympathy to the families of the flight crew on board the Med Flight helicopter. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Submitted by: Jason Leiber, TRRT
Condolences from myself and the entire Milwaukee Children's Flight for Life team for your loss. This is very tragic and nothing can replace friends. When I learned of the crash, I was heartbroken, knowing that I worked with Darren in the ER and knew Mark from FFL. I hope everyone can get over this loss.
- Jason Leiber
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin 
Submitted by: Troy Betts, Nurse Manager, colleague and student
The loss from this tragic event has left Madison and much of Wisconsin in mourning. I knew Mark Coyne, RN from back in my days as an EMT and from several conferences where Mark spoke to nursing, physician and other health care staff. He was a great man, knowledgeable and an asset to the program and our community. Although I never met Dr. Bean personally, I have seen him speak passionately about the many issues he tackled as Medical Director for the Madison Fire Dept. It is not a job for anyone. His passion and strength for ideas and solutions was something we sorely needed and will be a tremendous loss. In addition, Steve Lipperer and his eight years of experience flying for Med Flight adds to the depth of this tragedy. My heart goes out to the families, friends and UW Hospital staff.
- Troy Betts
Submitted by: Sandra, friend
God bless the crew members of UW Med Flight team and their families. As a personal friend of Steve Lipperer, I want to say thanks for the memories and we will miss you so much. The Jefferson guys cherish your friendship and forever will. Med Flight, our prayers are with you.
Submitted by: A.J. Marhofke, friend
Our thoughts and prayers to the crew of Med Flight.
-  A.J. Marhofke
911BC K-9 Search and Recovery, Oconomowoc, Wis.
Submitted by: Jennifer D.
My deepest sympathy goes out to the families. Wishing everyone comfort and peace during this difficult time.
Submitted by: Emmalee
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families.
Submitted by: Tammy Heath
As Gundersen Lutheran employees, it is unfortunate that this tragic event occurred due to your generosity in assisting Med Link. No words can express the sympathy that we extend to your family members and co-workers. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
- Tammy Heath
Gundersen-Lutheran Hillsboro Clinic
Submitted by: Brad, Flight Medic
Rest in peace my dear friends.
Submitted by: Penny, UW Health colleague
My thoughts and prayers are with the families, colleagues and all who knew, loved and respected these three brave, caring individuals. I am grateful I have never needed Med Flight services, and I am very grateful that Med Flight services are available. I live in a rural area approximately 40 miles north of Madison and I have had the opportunity to observe Med Flight land on the county roads near my home, pick up injured people, and take off again for the hospital. When that happens, I take time to thank God for the people who want to work in that field of service. There is something very comforting about the sound of Med Flight. I am sure that whenever I hear Med Flight in the future, I will take a few minutes to remember these three special individuals who lost their lives working to help others. May the God of your understanding be with all who are grieving their loss.
Submitted by: Liz Levi, colleague
These men dedicated their lives to improve the lives of others. They will be greatly missed and the void left behind never filled. I only hope that Desiree, Stacey, Ann, and the families and friends of these wonderful men can find some comfort in each other. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Submitted by: Dawn, UW Health colleague
My deepest sympathies go to the families of Dr. Bean, Mark Coyne, RN and Pilot Steve Lipperer. May they always be remembered as heroes and always rest in peace. God Bless.
Submitted by: Lacey Steffes, patient
I have wanted to write a thank you letter for a year now. I kept thinking I would get to it soon and now possibly the men I need to thank are no longer with us. My deep condolences are with the men who died, their families and co-workers. I am sure that the Med Fight staff that brought my brother from Richland Center last June 22 to UW Hospital had a major part in saving his life. Since that day, I have wanted to write a thank you to the team that arrived so promptly after my brother was hit by a car. Thanks to you, he was at UW Hospital less than one hour after the accident occurred and today is fully recovered from a head injury. He works full-time and has just decided to go back to school this fall. I will never know if one of these fine men was part of saving my brother's life, but regardless, thank you to the whole Med Flight Team. Thank you for doing what you do every day to save lives. Med Flight flies over our house in Baraboo and every time I hear it (when you have had a loved one on that helicopter, you remember the sound), I stop what I am doing and take a moment to think about staff and patient aboard that special helicopter. So thank you for helping my brother and everyone else and my heart goes out to the three men that lost their lives saving others. Thank you.
Submitted by: Mary, colleague
I have worked at UW Hospital for a long time. I was here when the "old bus" was used for transport of critical patients. When that was retired at the introduction of Med Flight, it was a proud moment for all at UWHC. So many patients are still with us today thanks to those angels in the sky. I personally experienced their lifesaving mission when a family member was in an MVA and gravely injured. Despite a very lengthy and difficult extracation in challenging conditions, they successfully stabilized and transported her to UW ER. She never would have survived if not for the Med Flight crew. That is just one example of how they serve the health care community each and every day for thousands of patients and their families. For that, we are forever grateful. May the families, friends and coworkers of Dr. Bean, Nurse Mark and Pilot Steve find comfort in knowing that their loved ones made a tremendous contribution in this world.
Submitted by: Linda, UW Health colleague
I was here in 1985 and among those who helped name and then promote the remarkable Med Flight service to the world. In the 23 years since, not once have I seen or heard Med Flight without feeling a rush of pride for the enormously important and life saving work of its physicians, nurses and pilots. The unmistakeable, deeply reassuring sound of Med Flight always meant hope and care, and we will be forever reminded of Darren, Mark and Steve each time we hear Med Flight making another run. My thanks and prayers to the families and friends of these outstanding men.
Submitted by: Robyn Silber, RN, colleague
To the families of Darren, Steve and Mark: Words, however kind, can't mend your heartache; but those who care and share your loss wish you comfort and peace of mind. May you find strength in the love of family and in the warm embrace of friends.
Submitted by: Christopher Strasburg and Family
To the Lipperer Family, I'd just like you to know you are in our thoughts and prayers in this difficult time.
Submitted by: Jacki Greene
My sympathy goes out to the families of the Med Flight Crew. Living in Madison, I often see Med Flight flying the skies and each time I am reminded how grateful I am to live in a community with such excellent medical care! Thanks to all the medical professionals in our community who are ready to help at a moments notice.
Submitted by: MaryAnn Studee, colleague
I have always been in awe of the Med Flight Crew. Every time I hear a helicopter take off, land or see one in flight, I always think, "That's our Med Flight heroes," saving a life while risking their own. We as a family of UW Hospital and Clinics have suffered a huge loss. My thoughts and prayers of these three men are with their families. May God bless them for their dedication and devotion to the many patients whose lives they have saved.
Submitted by: Chris Santi, family
Darren Bean was a very special person beginning at a very young age. One of the first lives he saved was his own. He ran through a large plate glass window at my house and severed an artery in his leg. His mom and I ran around panicked while he very calmly assessed the situation and took action. He wrapped towels tightly around his leg and said "Mom, you need to get me to emergency really fast." We followed his direction and raced to the hospital. He was a natural for the profession he chose. He will be greatly missed by everyone with the good fortune of getting to know and love him.
Submitted by: Mark Anthon
In June of last year I was involved in a serious bicycle accident and was subsequently transported via UW Med Flight to the UW Trauma Life Support Center. With multiple broken bones, a collapsed lung, multiple skull fractures and bleeding on the brain, without UW Med Flight, I might not be here today. UW Med Flight has my eternal gratitude and my heart breaks for the families and friends of these fine, dedicated men.
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