Postings 601-650: 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: Anne-Marie, UWHC colleague and friend
Working with Mark, Darren, Steve and their spouses has been a source of delight throughout my many years. I was sick when I got the page, and devastated at the outcome. These were really beautiful human beings whose joy of, and dedication to, living was readily apparent. They were the kind of people who kept others from becoming cynical about humankind. I am deeply saddened at their loss, and will strive to honor their memories with my work.
Submitted by: Lisa Brewer, UWHC colleague
In this world, some things don't seem fair. Together we grieve. Sorrows we share. We cannot bring back the things that are gone, for the most beautiful things don't always last long. In our hearts, their memories will never cease for now they are in the hands of God. Forever they will be in peace.
Submitted by: Michael Rhodes, friend and patient
Mark Coyne was a special kind of nurse. As a young patient on B6/4 back in the early- to mid-80s, I got to know Mark really well (I spent months/years on that floor). He was one of my favorite nurses, and I have thanked God for putting Mark on that floor, on third shift at a time when I really needed someone like him. The man made me pee in my wheelchair, laughing hysterically many times. I've never forgotten him. I've told my children about him, and I'll tell my grandson about the nurse that saved my sanity with laughter. To his family my condolences.
Submitted by: Shelley Rausch, UWHC colleague
My heart goes out to the families of our Med Flight crew and for all those who worked closely with these three brave men. I didn't know them personally, but there isn't a day I don't think about them. My dad was transported on Med Flight on Christmas Eve in 1997 and without having Med Flight to get him to a Trauma Center that saved his life, he wouldn't have had 11 more years to live. Every time I hear Med Flight flying over, no matter where I am, I always think, thank you for giving that patient another chance.
Submitted by: Sarah, former colleague
As a daughter of a flight nurse, a nurse myself, and a former employee of UW, I send my prayers to the families of Mark, Darren, and Steve. I know what it means to share someone you love with a job they love. People who do emergency medicine have a gift for helping people and the Med Flight crew is truly the best of the best. They were doing what they loved. Thank you to the families for sharing these wonderful men; the world is a better place because they were in it.
Submitted by: Dale Dougherty, friend and colleague
I'm sorry for your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
- Dale Dougherty
MedLink Air, LaCrosse
Submitted by: Danny Driscoll, whose father works for UW Health
I am Dan Driscoll's son. He is the telephone man for UWHC. And we are very sorry for Darren, Mark, Steve and the helicopter. I have been to Med Flight three times and enjoy it very much. And you are all heroes in my mind thank you for what you do.
Submitted by: Sarah, friend
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." You guys took our breath away with your amazing talents that you took time to share with us everyday! You will be loved forever and forgotten never!
Submitted by: Nicole Halstead, friend and colleague
I worked at the UW ER as a nurse six years ago. I kind of "accidentally" became an ER nurse. Before I knew it, I was hooked. I have three kids now, and I work PRN in a smaller ER. I have never come close to duplicating the sense of family that I felt at UW. It was a horrible shock to learn of the crash, followed by an awful, heavy sadness. My heart aches for Desiree and the families of Mark and Darren. It also aches for my former coworkers, who I know are continuing to care for the patients in the ER with stoicism and compassion, even as their hearts are heavy and aching with this loss. You guys are all great, and such an incredible team. I wish I could give hugs to you all. I miss you.
Submitted by: Samuel Gross, student
Dr. Bean and the Med Flight crew were an inspiration to me. I had the honor of working with and learning from Dr. Bean in the emergency department last fall. I will carry the memory of these three men, and their dedication to serving others with me as I begin my residency in emergency medicine.
Submitted by: Donny
God Bless your families. Godspeed.
- Donny,
LifeStar Texas flight medic
Submitted by: Chris B.
I am a nurse at UW and even though I did not know these three men, I have so much respect for the Med Flight program. I could not believe it when I heard the news on Sunday morning. I always love seeing Med Flight in the sky and think how proud I am to be a part of the UW. I would like to send my condolences to each of their families, friends and everyone who knew these three great men. God Bless you all.
Submitted by: Roy Zielke
It’s sad to not have a nice group of people back. But God can use them up in Heaven.
Submitted by: Maureen, UW Health colleague
Three men, all with unquestionably great talent, shared a common value. They didn't squander that talent, but used it for the good of mankind. And in doing that, they taught us all an invaluable lesson. For that, we should be eternally grateful. And in honoring them, we should make that our life's goal. Thank you Dr. Bean, Mark and Steve.
Submitted by: Lexi
I have always taught my children to pray whenever they hear Med Flight flying over our home as the hospital is only a block away. We will continue our prayers for each of the men that lost their lives that night. May you find some peace at this time. We are so very sorry for all of your losses.
Submitted by: Beth Busse, RN, friend and colleague
To all of those at UW Hospital and Med Flight family, my prayers and thoughts are to all of you. I had the pleasure of working with Darren and Stacy at Carolinas Medical Center, and both were a fun and had a joy for life all around them. This is truly a sad time. My heart is for Stacy and all the crew's family members, and all of those at UW.
- Beth Busse
University Hospital of Cincinnati
Submitted by: Julieann B., student and patient
I previously wrote a tribute but wanted to include one very important item I left out. In October of 2004, my husband was involved in a near-fatal car crash. Med Flight from UW came and flew Joel to UW. If it were not for these three individuals, he would not be alive today. My three children Sarah, Jacob and MaryGrace, along with myself say a huge thank you! What you do everyday is a job of great bravery and courage. And you do put your lives at risk every single day. Thank you. What you do day in and day out does not go unnoticed. And I am grateful that I had the sheer honor and privilege of meeting both Dr. Darren Bean in the ER for my wrist and being a student of Mark Coyne's for EMT class at MATC. I, myself, am going on to school to be a surgical nurse. And as I go through my schooling, I will have at the forefront of my mind these three individuals who have made an impact in such a positive way on our community, and have left a beautiful legacy not only to everyone here, but to their family. Our prayers are with the families daily. God bless all of you, and God bless these three gifted individuals.
Submitted by: Todd Bethe, firefighter
My wife and I learned of the accident on Sunday night and are both so saddened. My wife Jill Wickwar Bethe worked in the ER with Doctor Bean from 2002-2004. I don't think a day ever went by that she did not mention something about this amazing man. She was always so thrilled to be able to interact with him on a daily basis. She always told me the people at UW were the best and after reading all of these tributes that certainly is the case. God bless these fine men that risked their lives to safe the public with fine speed and courage. We will keep the relatives in our prayers and thoughts.
- Todd Bethe
Town of Algoma Fire Department
Submitted by:Wayne Atchley, colleague
As a firefighter/first responder for one of the departments involved in the search - I can tell you without hesitation Sunday May 11 was a very emotional day. My pager tripped at midnight and rest of day was filled with Hope, Sorrow, and Disappointment over and over again. I could look at the search crew's faces and I knew how they felt. WE lost three colleagues/friends/family members. In our profession we never know what lies ahead of us but it never ceases to amaze me to see and realize that we are not alone. As a family we will move on and yes Darren, Mark and Steve will be missed but please be assured they will not be forgotten by their Emergency Services Family. God's blessing to all you.
- Wayne Atchley, Assistant Chief
Shelby Fire Department, La Crosse, Wis.
Submitted by: Mercy Air Life Team
Our thoughts and prayers are with each and every individual who these people's lives have touched. For all the patients, families, co-workers, crew members, neighbors, etc. whose lives have been touched by this tragedy, please know that you are not alone! Our deepest sympathy are with all of you! This crew did what they loved to do, help others! God Bless and take care!!
- Mercy Air Life, Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa
Mason City, Iowa
Submitted by: Karen, colleague
To the families of Mark, Darren and Steve: I have known Mark since he started at UWHC as a nurse and thru his work at MATC. We shared many opportunities for EMT and Paramedic training. Loved his sense of humor and dedication - a wonderful combination. I only knew of Darren and Steve but have always heard positive things. The loss is incredible and I know you have not yet felt the full magnitude. I immediately relived many of my feelings from when I lost both of my parents instantly in an MVA and remember how hard it was. Yet I also remember how many positive things came in the aftermath. The words written in cards and messages became so important in the healing process. They were also precious legacies for my children. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue this difficult journey. These people will always be special.
Submitted by: Vicki Carter, UW Health colleague and friend
It was my pleasure and privilege to work with Dr. Bean and Mark Coyne on the Level One Heart Attack Program. With great pride, I want to thank them for their vision and determination to reach out and share their incredible knowledge and lifesaving skills with our regional communities. For all who risk their lives for others, a prayer: "Oh Lord! Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me." (Sir Jacob Astley of England before he led his troops into battle in 1642) Darren, Mark, and Steve, daily you have fought a battle against time in saving others. Surely, you will not be forgotten for your extraordinary heroism and humanity. My heart goes out to your wives, children and loved ones. I will miss you.
- Vicki Carter
UW Health Heart and Vascular Care - Outreach
Submitted by: David Hugelmeyer, friend, colleague
Neither time nor distance can soften the feeling of loss when those you cared for and respected as colleagues and friends suffer. As a former Med Flight doc, I knew Mark well and rejoiced when on a mission with him because of his kind spirit, smile, his caring and professionalism.... and perhaps a ribald joke! He brought compassion and clinical excellence to all he cared for and in these days of thousands of people lost in China and Asia my casually finding this tragic news brings our mortality to a painfully personal level. I did not know the rest of the crew but to all of their families and friends, my deepest condolences and thanks for their sacrifice. Peace and comfort to you all at UW and Med Flight.
- David Hugelmeyer, former Med Flight physician
Albert Schweitzer Hospital
Dordrecht, Netherlands
Submitted by: Mike Alvin, colleague
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to their families and loved ones. I had worked in the ER at UW for many years with Mark. Without the Med Flight Crew and its staff helping me when I had my accident in 1994, I may not have been here today to enjoy my life. They are truly lifesavers in my eyes and to many more they have helped in time of illness and traumatic situations. My hat is off to all and will be missed.
Submitted by: Sharon Dimitrijevich
Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the families, friends, and co-workers of this Med Flight crew. Peace.
- Sharon Dimitrijevich
Cancer Treatment Centers of American, Zion, Illinois
Submitted by: Kelly Kanary, colleague
Even though I have moved away from Madison, my ER/Med Flight family called me early Sunday morning... a moment I will never forget, only to be followed by another moment that will not be forgotten. These are the words I found on the ride back to Madison on Sunday morning. We have all lived in these moments, only our place is usually to the side offering aid and healing. Here, now, we stand in the center, slightly lost because our place and our aid and healing is needed for each other. Life is unpredictable, it is precious, and it is lost in an instant. The words are few, but here they are: passionate, determined, meaningful, strong, unwavering, joyous, embracing, love... We have lost too much today. And it is heavy and hard to breathe. I know my life is better for knowing these three men. Their kindness, generosity of time and talent, their genuineness, and their passion for their work is inspiring and true. It makes no sense and feels much too short because greatness and hope lived strong within them. Thank you to everyone for the support, the love and the understanding. The world has lost today too.
Submitted by: Cindy
I offer my prayers to you all. I have been in flights for over 10 years and lost a friend in a FW crash several years ago. I will put you in my daily prayers.
- Cindy
Avera McKennan CareFlight/RW and FW
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Submitted by: Sara Gill, UW Health colleague
My heart truly goes out to each and every one of you who were so blessed to have these wonderful human beings in your lives. Thank you so much for sharing them with us here at UWHC. Cherish the memories for they will see you through this time. May faith give you strength and guide you in the days to come. God bless you all.
- Sara Gill
Respiratory Care, UW Hospital and Clinics
Submitted by: Jean, RN, UW Health colleague
My thoughts and prayers for the families of these three incredible men. Their contributions to the health care world will never be forgotten.
Submitted by: Debra Martin
Deepest sympathies to the members of all the families involved. Such courage, dedication and honor just can't go unrewarded. Carry your pride and wonderful memories of your loved ones close to your hearts. My grandfather often said I want to be taken from this earth doing what I enjoy and he was, he was reading his bible. It can hardly make things better or OK but many, even strangers, keep you lovingly in their thoughts and prayers. God Bless.
- Debra Martin
Gundersen Lutheran, Prairie du Chien, Wis.
Submitted by: Terri
I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of these three courageous individuals. I personally met with Dr. Bean to discuss his breakthrough techniques for Cardiac Arrest victims. I was honored and thrilled to have met him. I remember that he spoke passionately about the subject and his desires to move this program forward. I hope that members of his staff will continue his dreams in his honor. As an nurse myself, we need more people in medicine that want to forward medicine in any way possible. May they all rest in peace and that the families find comfort within all of the people that these three individuals have touched!
- Terri, Madison, Wis.
Submitted by: Laura
My daughter is an employee with UW Health. She has worked in the trauma department for the past year. Our prayers go out to the families and employees that have lost these loved ones. God Bless You!
-Laura, Stetsonville, Wis.
Submitted by: Casey RN, BSN

My heart goes out to the family, friends, and colleagues of these "heroes." I believe that our medical community lost three great men.


- Casey

St. Mary's Hospital



Submitted by: Matt Goethel, colleague and student

I was an EMT student of Mark's, and am sure that I've gotten to work with Darren and Steve. The entire Med Flight organization provides an incredibly great level of care to our community. The skills of Darren, Mark, and Steve have without a doubt contributed to many lives being saved. My sympathies go out to their families, friends, and colleagues. It was an honor having had the opportunity to work with and know them.

Submitted by: Tina Schaaf

May God Bless the families of all those who perished on that ill-fated flight.



Submitted by: Deb, colleague
My heartfelt condolences go out to the spouses and families of Darren, Steve, and Mark. As a nurse who has worked at UWHC in a variety of units and capacities over the last 20 years, I have met all three of these amazing men. I have the utmost admiration for their work and the contributions of all the Med Flight professionals who go the extra mile to save the lives of the critically ill on a daily basis. Darren, Steve and Mark will be forever missed but never forgotten.
Submitted by: Wellmont One Air Transport
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and flight team members of those that lost their lives completing such heroic acts. May God give you peace.
- Wellmont One Air Transport
Greenville, Tennessee



Submitted by: Desiree Beaulieau

All of us at MedCenter Air have the fallen members of our family and their family and friends in our prayers. God Bless the three men for all they did.
- Desiree Beaulieau
MedCenter Air, Charlotte, North Carolina
Submitted by: Scott Anderson
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the entire Med Flight Team.
- Scott Anderson
Flight for Life - Northern Illinois, McHenry, Illinois
Submitted by: Tom Reardon, colleague
I am very sorry for your loss and that of your colleagues and families. As a former flight RN with MedLink AIR, and now PNICU manager this has been a difficult time for everyone. It was an honor to be part of the funeral procession out of LaCrosse, my thoughts and prayers are will you all. We are here for you! Bless you.
- Tom Reardon
MedLink AIR, Gundersen Lutheran, LaCrosse, Wis.
Submitted by: Judy Shank, colleague
Our hearts and prayers go out to you. We were so saddened to hear of the tragedy. Times like these make us realize how closely connected we are and that our days need to be spent using our unique gifts to help others through life. You showed you were committed and passionate about caring for others to the very end. Thank you for all the care and tenderness you have shown to people in crisis through the years. Our prayers go out to your families and loved ones. Words cannot express how sorry we are over the loss of your loved ones. Please know we carry them in our hearts and you in our prayers. Until we meet again, May God watch over them.
- Judy Shank, Secretary/Treasurer
Southern Green Lake County Ambulance, Markesan, Wis.
Submitted by: Jodi
Our prayers and thoughts are with the families, coworkers and friends of Darren, Mark and Steve. God has three great angels now.
Submitted by: Jenny
My sympathy goes out to all those affected by this tragedy. The people on board Med Flight that night were truly amazing people. They touched a lot of lives as well as saving lives everyday. They will be missed greatly. They will be in our hearts and part of our lives forever. God Bless.
- Jenny
Gundersen Lutheran
Submitted by: Linda
I didn't know Dr. Bean but I transcribed his Med Flight dictation, so I felt like I knew him. It is such a tragedy, and I know he will be missed terribly. I think we all tend to take for granted exactly what these people do. I live in the path of a Med Flight in my area, and although they fly over everyday, I never give it much thought. I will now.
- Linda, Pennsylvania
Submitted by: Sue Strandlie, UW Health colleague
So sorry for the loss. Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers. Everyone here at UW Hospital and Clinics, present and former staff, feel the loss of all these great men.
- Sue Strandlie
Plant Engineering, UW Hospital and Clinics
Submitted by: Jennifer Hamann and Family
No words of condolences can ease the sadness of losing such "angels of mercy." All of the Med Flight individuals will be remembered and cherished for the lives they have saved and/or extended, for the pains they have placed at ease in their times of distress and hurt, and for being hundreds of peoples angels on earth. "Let us not mourn, but rather, rejoice that each one of them have lived." Thus, the effects of their endless and compassionate life-saving efforts to many, shall be remembered and keep them alive forever.
Submitted by: Leslie Cobb, RN, colleague
Such an incredible loss! I have such fond memories of both Darren and Stacey from the ED in the Carolinas. His passion for life, family and the ED was always so apparent. I can only imagine how many more lives Darren has touched in the time since his residency. I know that so many hearts are heavy with grief over the loss of all three men. My prayers and thoughts are with all of the families, friends and anyone who is suffering from this tragedy. May God give you strength.
- Leslie Cobb, RN
North Carolina
Submitted by: Michelle DeBose (Ritcherson), colleague
I began my nursing career in Wisconsin, the same year UW introduced Med Flight, I was the Head Nurse of the Peds ICU and worked side by side with Mark. My condolences to his family and the other crew members' families, Dr. Bean and Pilot Lipperer. This is such a tragic loss. I want to acknowledge that the extraordinary service Med Flight provides has played an enormous role in critical care and my prayers are with all of those who continue to provide care for our patients.
Submitted by: Cathy, colleague
Our thoughts and prayers for Dr. Bean, Mark and Steve and to their families. We have worked with each of these fine men and respected their knowledge and care for our patients. We will always remember them. Sincerely, WER
- Watertown Memorial Hospital, Emergency Department
Watertown, Wis.
Submitted by: Shelly
I want to express my deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of these brave men. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. These courageous and noble men are heroes, and they will always be remembered. Like countless others, my family feels a tremendous amount of gratitude for the Med Flight crews because they saved my father's life in October 2007. His condition was critical and he needed to be transported to the UW TLC from a local community hospital. Med Flight was called, and they came immediately. He is with us today because Med Flight was there for him.
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