May 6-12 is both National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week, the time each year when we recognize and appreciate those in Wisconsin who dedicate their careers to making our health care some of the best, most accessible in the country. There are more than 150,000 committed people employed in Wisconsin health care, all contributing in some way to the care of others.
We are reminded of that dedication at many times, in many ways, but no more so than on April 26, when the Wisconsin health care community was stunned by the crash of an Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport helicopter near Hazelhurst. Three people, all members of the flight team, lost their lives. They were just a few miles from their home base, returning to Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff after transporting a patient to Madison.
We were devastated by the news. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the crew, their families and loved ones.
All of Wisconsin’s dedicated caregivers, their families and those who love and support them, make sacrifices every single day to serve their fellow human beings. They devote their lives to helping people they don’t know, in times of their greatest need, often putting themselves at risk for the sake of others. Each deserves recognition and our gratitude, not just during this special week, but every week and every day.
Any loss of life is difficult. When such loss comes in the course of a selfless act, in service to others, it is even harder to fathom or reconcile. It is painful, and felt far and wide. Tragedies like this remind us not only how precious life is, but how thankful we are for those who work every day to preserve it, even at the risk of their own.
The WHA team expresses its deepest sympathies to the families, loved ones and colleagues of pilot Rico Caruso, 34, Hazelhurst; crewman Klint Mitchell, 30, Watersmeet, MI; and crewman Gregory Rosenthal, 43, Mosinee.
During this special week, please keep these dedicated health care servants and their loved ones in your thoughts and prayers—and take a moment to thank someone who works in service to others in Wisconsin health care.
The Howard Young Foundation has set up a “Helping Hands” fund to benefit the families of the Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport team. Visit www.howardyoungfoundation.org to make a donation. You may also mail donations to the Howard Young Foundation, PO Box 470, Woodruff, WI 545468-0470 (make checks payable to Howard Young Foundation – Spirit).