Hundreds of Juneau residents turn out Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in 8-degree weather for a candlelight vigil at Mayor Bill Overstreet Park for the Guardian medical flight crew that lost their lives in a plane crash. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Hundreds of Juneau residents turn out Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in 8-degree weather for a candlelight vigil at Mayor Bill Overstreet Park for the Guardian medical flight crew that lost their lives in a plane crash. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Friday ceremony at JDHS will honor victims of Guardian crash

Tribute will include dozens of family members

Guardian Flight and local authorities are holding a tribute service Friday for employees who were killed in a crash in January, and it’s expected to be a large event.

The memorial will take place at 1 p.m. Friday at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé auditorium. The approximately 80-minute ceremony will honor pilot Patrick Coyle, flight nurse Stacie Rae Morse and flight paramedic Margaret Langston. Morse was pregnant with a child she planned to name Delta Rae.

Anybody is welcome at the event, and doors open at noon. Around 45 family members of the victims will be in attendance, Capital City Fire/Rescue Assistant Chief Ed Quinto estimated. Quinto is acting as the liaison between local authorities and Guardian Flight organizers.

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Personnel from Guardian, CCFR, the Juneau Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and American Medical Response (the national organization that Guardian’s a part of) will be involved, Quinto said. Guardian Executive Director Jared Sherman said there will also be people from the other two local medevac companies — Airlift Northwest and Life Med Alaska — will also be in attendance.

During the ceremony, people from these organizations will speak, as will representatives from each family. Sherman said people from the town of Kake — which was the flight’s destination when it crashed Jan. 29 — will also speak.

“The Kake community really stepped up during that search and the search process,” Sherman said, “so we felt connected and wanted to make sure they were part of this tribute.”

For those who can’t make it, the ceremony will be live-streamed at alaska.guardianflight.com. A simultaneous ceremony will be happening in Anchorage, Sherman said, and the two events will coordinate to have a moment of silence at the same time.

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Toward the end of the ceremony, family members will be presented with flags, Sherman said. If the weather cooperates, there will be a fly-over with a Temsco helicopter and possibly a Coast Guard helicopter, Sherman said.

Organizers expect a large turnout, and will have overflow seating with TVs outside the auditorium, Quinto said.

The tragedy resonates with first responders, Quinto said, and they’re looking forward to working with Guardian to put the event together.

“At any moment,” Quinto said, “this can happen to any of us.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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