Endings often times remind us of our beginnings. Sometimes we never know the value of our minutes until they become our memories.
On November 20, many current and former ThedaStar crew members, gathered to attend the funeral of George Miller (one of the first pilots), who died on November 15, 2014, from debilitating pulmonary fibrosis secondary to Agent Orange exposure in the Vietnam War. His emotion-evoking funeral honored his zest for life, his love of aviation, and the heroism and valor he displayed for his country as a marine. George received three Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross while flying helicopters for the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.
Coming together here was like being in a time machine. It offered us the opportunity to remember our humble beginnings in the EMS world and share random memories and stories of our collective past as we ventured out into the austere pre-hospital environment. ThedaStar will soon celebrate its 30th anniversary in June 2016. Reminiscing is a way of holding on to meaningful things in our lives!
Thank you to former original flight nurse Lori Poss for providing excellent care for George during his illness and for keeping his ThedaStar family updated with George and Carolyn’s permission. Death reminds us all about living more fully. George and Carolyn would certainly agree. When diagnosed with his terminal illness, they set out to do all the things they had dreamed about but not yet taken the time to do. They celebrated every minute of life they had left together.
Songwriter Bob Dylan warned us with the same message in one of his songs, “Take care of your memories. You cannot relive them.”
ThedaStar's original pilots hired in 1986: (L to R) Ray Slavik, Lee Huebscher, Marshal Crandall, and George Miller.
To ThedaStar Air Medical:
I cannot find the words to express the depth of my gratitude to you for your presence at George’s funeral as well as the honor you gave him by flying over the ceremony. It means more to me than I can convey. George lived life with great energy and passion, and he gave everything he had to each and every helicopter job he ever held. He was an exceptional pilot and an extraordinary man who truly made a difference in this world! It is important to me that you know that throughout the years he often expressed high praise and admiration, both in public and in private, for those people he worked with in the emergency medical field.
He greatly valued your professionalism, your sacrifices, and your friendship. Please accept my heartfelt thanks to all of you.
— Carolyn Miller