Postings 51-100: 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: Patricia Gonzalez-Clark, UW Health colleague
This is probably the most difficult thing I had written... To say goodbye to 3 great people, people that I learned to love as human beings and being honored to have them as of part of my life, just being able to meet such great people is what makes this place so great and I feel blessed by that opportunity... You guys Rock! and will be always in our memories.
Submitted by: Rainelde, UW Health colleague
This tragic accident reminds us how precious life is, as we move thru each day doing our busy things. Their encouragement and excitement in emergency medicine will carry on in the lives they touched. May they Rest in Peace.
Submitted by: Laurie
My condolences to the families of these brave and wonderful individuals. My son was transported by Med Flight after a car accident - these talented heroes will always have a special part in my heart. May the angels of God help them on their last flight home. "He will raise you up on eagle's wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of His Hand."
Submitted by: Joey, colleague
At a moment's notice... that is how these three men lived, available at a moment's notice, to fly into challenging situations, and bring people in trauma to the hands of health care providers. Whatever the situation that took their physical beings from our daily contact, we can come together, to bring peace to their spirits, in the confusion that swirls around abrupt loss. I honor the courage and service that Darren, Mark and Steve offered to our community. Heartfelt appreciation. Peace.
Submitted by: John Erlandson
While most of us were home with our loved ones these heros were doing what they do best; saving lives. Thank You to the men and women of all emergency services who quietly go about the business of saving lives and making the world a better place.
Submitted by: Angie
The selfless work of this Med Flight crew have helped to save many that would not have survived numerous tradgedies. The loss of this crew is being felt by the enitre community. They and their loved ones are in my prayers.
Submitted by: Aaron Andersen, UW Health colleague and friend
Dr. Bean was an inspiration to me and to many others in my class who chose EM as a career. I was struck by his compassion, his calm, and his sheer excellence in practice. He was truly a leading light for me and many others and I will miss him dearly. I aspire to someday be half the doctor he was. I didn't know the other crew members but everyone I've ever worked with at Med Flight has impressed me to no end. Heroes, every one. I was shocked and saddened by the tragedy. My deepest condolences to family and friends.
Submitted by: Jan Brown, colleague
My thoughts and prayers are with the Med Flight crew members' families and colleagues. May you be granted strength and peace as you come to terms with this terrible tragedy. With deepest sympathy,
- Jan Brown
Regional Assistant Community Based Division, Region 3 (Northeast)
Air Methods Corporation
Submitted by: Jeff Charlson, friend
I had the pleasure to fly private aircraft with Mark several years ago. He was a person of the highest quality and reflected characteristics we all strongly value. The world is less well-off today due to the loss of these three fine individuals.
Submitted by: Susan Skochelak, UW Health colleague
My tribute to Dr Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer for their selfless devotion to saving lives. My deep condolences to their families, friends and colleagues for the untimely loss of these dedicated men.
- Susan Skochelak
UW School of Medicine and Public Health
Submitted by: Anne K.
As another person said, I too was a patient for several weeks at UW in Mar/Apr 2007 - my room in the ortho wing looked out towards where the choppers took off and landed - I spent many hours watching them and thinking of them. God speed to Mark, Darren and Steve. Your candles lit the world.
Submitted by: Amy, colleague
My family members have friends in the Med Flight service team, so my hearts go out to them and the family members of the three who passed away. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
Submitted by: Dan Sodemann, UW Health colleague
I didn't know these individuals - but, I am deeply saddened by this tragedy. We are a family at UWHC and my thoughts go out to the families, friends and close colleagues of these individuals. They made it their life's work to help others in need and unfortunately they are no longer able to fulfill their duties or support their families. May they rest in peace. 
Submitted by: Mike
Fly Home, Brothers. Godspeed.
- Mike B.
Flight Paramedic, MidAtlantic MedEvac
Submitted by: Lowell and Judy Hayes, colleagues
Our deepest thoughts to the family and friends of the crew. Losing these knowledgeable people who consistently gave up a lot of time with their wants to assist someone in need is a great loss to all.
Submitted by: Hilary King
My thoughts and prayers are sent from a heavy heart to all the friends and families of those who lost their lives on Saturday night. It was June 4th last year when we lost 6 staff members from our survival flight crew at the University of Michigan. The remarkable folks who do this work everyday will endure and plow on, but no one will forget. Stay strong.
Submitted by: Rachel Nord, colleague
My sincere thoughts and prayers to everyone - I haven't seen you all for awhile, but know I am thinking about you more than usual in the upcoming weeks . . . . trying to send a little Rachel-mania your way to get you through your workdays.
Submitted by: Frank Klein
As a retired police officer, I know, as these fine fellows did, of the dangers involved in HELPING PEOPLE. That's what we do, though, and what we will continue to do. My heart goes out to all the families of them, as I know what it's like to lose a spouse. They are in a better place, although that's little consolation.
Submitted by: Judy Moore, friend
I am a former employee of UW Hospital and worked with the Med Flight program in a public relations capacity for 9 years. This is a family of dedicated and passionate professionals. I feel the loss and pain hundreds of miles away in Indianapolis and am praying for all of you.
Submitted by: Angelika Manthe, UW Health colleague
I am deeply sorry for this tragic loss. There are no words that can describe the sadness I feel. My prayers and thoughts are with the family.
- Angelika Manthe
UW Medical Foundation Odana Atrium Scheduler
Submitted by: Patricia Stolen, friend
I would truly give my condolences from my heart. I always heard Med Flight in the air; I always awaited for them to return and hope all passengers were healthy. I won't forget. Sorry to the families and community.
Submitted by: Teri, UW Health colleague
I didn't know any of the members of the crew but consider people who provide this type of service to our community "heroes." I hope that is helpful for the families to know that even people who do not know them are praying for them and thinking of them. Deepest sympathy,
- Teri, UW Medical Foundation employee
Submitted by: Jerry, RN, Air Evac 59, Fort Madison, IA
Our thoughts and prayers to the crew, their families and to the UW Med Flight family.
Submitted by: Teri
My deepest sympathy goes out to the families, friends, and communities affected by this tragedy. Thank you Darren, Mark, & Steve for all your hard work and dedication to saving lives! You will be missed!
Submitted by: Stephanie Chomos
Wishing Fair Winds and Blue Skys to the Med Flight Crew, and our most sincere condolences to the work and home families. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
- Medical University of South Carolina Emergency Services
Charleston, SC
Submitted by: Roni, family member
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 to his two nephews, Corey & Nathan. Love to you all.
Submitted by: Paul Hick, colleague
To all of the families and friends of those lost in the crash of Med Flight, Our hearts go out to you. We feel your loss. Sincerely,
- The Meriter ER doctors and staff
Submitted by: Julie Benson
My daughter's life was saved because of people like your Med Flight crew, and my heart is breaking for everyone involved in this tragedy. They are truly heroes.
Submitted by: Chuck Stone, MD, UW Health colleague and friend
I was always impressed by Darren's passion and enthusiasm for patient care. He particularly directed his energies toward improving our response time for patients with acute cardiac conditions. Those efforts transcended UWHC, involving all of southern Wisconsin. We will miss him greatly!
Submitted by: A.J. Santi, family member
My cousin Darren is one of my heroes. His will and class to accomplish every obstacle is second to none. If my soldiers had his strength and determination, I would not be in Iraq, this conflict would be over. Love you Cuz. You will be greatly missed.
- Anthony J Santi SGT, USA
Submitted by: Dan, colleague
When I was going though scool at UW-Madison, I worked at the hospital. I got to know Mark and many members of the crew. They were all professionals. This is a tragedy for the entire State of Wisconsin. God be with them.
Submitted by: Jill Swenson, RN, UW Health colleague
As a nurse in the Burn Center at UW Hospital, I have crossed paths with Mark Coyne many times over the past twenty years as he brought in new patients and followed their progress. While I didn't know him well I immediately recognized his extreme professionalism, coolness under pressure, and wonderful sense of humor. He always wore a smile that spread warmth to those around him. Mark, Dr. Bean, and Steve will be deeply missed by all of us here. They and the other med flight crew members have always been a source of great pride to our hospital. My thoughts are with their families, friends, and coworkers.
Submitted by: Meriter Night Shift Security, colleagues
We were saddened to hear about the death of flight crew Dr. Darren Bean, RN Mark Coyne, and Pilot Steve Lipperer. We will miss their smiles and great sense of humor. It was always a pleasure to serve them when they would land at our hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and coworkers. Our deepest sympathies. Sincerely, Meriter hospital night shift Security.
Submitted by: Sarah Quinlan, colleague
While I was working in the ED at UWHC I had the opportunity to meet Darren. No matter how busy he was he always had time to answer any question that I might have. Dr. Bean would go out of his way to comfort patients and their families. He was also a great team player. Unfortunately I didn't know Mark or Steve. From what I heard they were all great and real fun to be around. My prayers are with Darren, his family, Steve, Mark, and their families as well. Take care and I am sorry for your loss.
Submitted by: Name not provided
My sincere condolences to the families of the brave healthcare providers killed in the Med Flight crash. I am a healthcare provider myself, and have always held a special admiration for those willing to help patients in urgent need via Med Flight. The fact that they were helping another hospital transport a patient, rather than on a UW mission, just shows how dedicated these men were to their fellow human beings and safeguarding lives.
Submitted by: Heidi Shields, friend
What a terrible loss for the medical community and the people of Wisconsin. The three men who died were the true essence of heroism. May God be with their families and friends in this difficult time.
Submitted by: Mark Becker, UW Health colleague
As a former Med Flight Pilot I wish to express my condolences for the entire crew. I so much enjoyed all of my flights with Mark Coyne a good friend and great flight nurse! Truly a sad day!!
Submitted by: Shirley Wiggins, UW Health colleague and friend
I am heartsick over the loss of our Med Flight crew and my prayers are with their families. Mark would often share his opinion of the good places to go in the Florida Keys in order to avoid the tourist.I have worked at UW for 18 years and I think of it as a small town where one is touched by many coworkers, patients and family members. These men will be missed. Their dedication and spirit will live on.
Submitted by: Tanya Field, UW Health colleague
As a new member of the UW Hospital Heart & Vascular Care team, I have been so impressed by the quality of care that our patients receive. I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Darren Bean twice and I was in awe of his enthusiasm and passion about the care of cardiac patients in WI. I had only briefly met Mark and had not yet met Steve, but I can tell you that in my 30+ years of working in hospitals, I had not up until this point worked with such a dedicated team of health care providers. I hope that we will be able to carry on their work with the same pride and commitment. My deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of this wonderful group of men.
Submitted by: Bill, RN CVC-ICU
My heart goes out to you at the University of Wisconsin at this time as it is just under a year that we at the University of Michigan lost several members of our flight crew in a crash of one of our aircraft. We all feel the pain that you are going through. There can not be a more noble cause.
Submitted by: D.A. Eveland, EMT-P, UW Health colleague
Along with health care and emergency health practitioners throughout the state and region, I, too, share in the sorrow felt by such a large number of us. Together, we are a team, and our hearts are dedicated to human life, and life more abundant. As a team, we are now called upon to support each other in the wake of this tragedy. These men stood for life, and their work must continue. It is with deepest sorrow that we must say goodbye to these dedicated public servants. Let us now stand together, and stand with the families of these men, in prayer, and in our work. As our work as a team continues, so, too, does their legacy. Darren, Mark & Steve, may God bless you for your dedication and your loyalty to your patients, your program, and your teammates and colleagues, and bring you peace and rest.
Submitted by: Shannon
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the flight crew, but especially to Ann Coyne. She has been a part of my life since I was young and she has been a source of inspiration.
Submitted by: Judy, RN, colleague
...A terrible and tragic loss for the families of the 3 men, and the healthcare community. How ironic that these men died doing what they loved. May God help the loved ones left behind through this very difficult time.
Submitted by: Transport Team, Children's Memorial Hospital
Please accept our sincerest sympathies for your losses. We will keep your team and the families of your teammates in our thoughts and prayers.
- Transport Team
Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL
Submitted by: Deb Gordon, UW Health colleague
We are all so shocked and share your loss. You are all an important part of the UW Health family and hope that you can celebrate the lives and fond memories of the work and love you shared with one another.
Submitted by: Deana Urban
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragic loss. I work for the Gundersen Clinic and am so very thankful when I see the care that people in this field show towards patients. Take comfort in the knowledge that all three men died doing something very heroic. They deserve everyone's thanks because as we all know we could someday require the services they provided. God's Blessings to all of you!!
- Deana Urban
Gundersen Clinic
Submitted by: Jennifer Fiegel-Newlon, colleague
I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss of these amazing men. My deepest sympathies to their families and friends.
Submitted by: Flight Crew, Wings Air Rescue
Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Med Flight family as they begin to cope with the devastating effects of this tragic event. Your grief is shared by all of us in the MedEvac community.
Submitted by: Jen Drayton, UW Health colleague and friend
I know now what it feels like to have a broken heart. Mark (and his wife Ann) have been my friends for 23 years and Ann is one of the best pediatric nurses at AFCH I have ever met. Mark was a teacher, an excellent nurse, a comedian, and a friend to so many. Mark precepted me as a new nurse in the PICU in 1985. We taught together in the EMS program for years, and we flew together as colleagues in Med Flight for 5 years. I am so very sad. Darren was full of life and energy and was committed to improving health care for rural Wisconsin and for healing hearts. He was a familiar and friendly face in chest pain meetings, in the cardiac cath lab, and in the emergency department. Steve was a pilot who never took shortcuts, was diligently safe, and helped wherever, and whenever he could. All three of the crew members are heroes. One of the crew members was a dear family friend who played with my children. God's blessings and comfort to all the friends, families, and staff who are also hurting. The entire community, along with the UWHC family is in my family's prayers. This hymn is playing constantly in my head today... "Give me strength Lord to wipe away each tear, Give me strength to calm our ev'ry fear. Give me strength to see through the night. Knowing there in the dark, is Your light."
Submitted by: Shannon Mollet
My utmost sympathy and prayers go to the families and friends that are experiencing these losses. I was unfortunate to not know the crew members, however I was working at Kreekside Pub/Eatery when the news was released. This was only a few miles away from us there. I felt a loss yesterday after I heard the news - being in the medical field myself, it is always hard to hear news like this. I hope the families are dealing efficiently and again, my prayers are with you.
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