Story Archive

April 2014


Justin Irwin, 04/09/2014

On April, 9, 2014, I was tightening the alternator belt on my 1999 Mazda Protege. Since I was supposed to graduate from UW-Parkside in the Spring, I had already taken my jack stands, and jack to Michigan (my home state), and was preparing to move out of my apartment.

March 2014

Kim Thome

Kim Thome, 03/19/2014

On March 19, 2014, Kim Thome and her daughters Hayley and Madison were in a single car rollover accident. While coming up on a small hill they hit snow and ice that caused them to spin and ultimately roll the vehicle over 4 or 5 times. Kim was ejected from the vehicle while the girls stayed belted safely inside.

April 2012

Survival is only the beginning

Kirk Breneisen, 04/11/2012

How it all began… April 11, 2012 was the day that Kirk Breneisen’s life changed forever. He was a passenger in a car that was involved in a collision when the driver made a left turn in front of another car traveling at 60 mph. The crash occurred on Rte. 14 in Barrington, Illinois during the morning rush hour. The car that Kirk was riding in was knocked into the ditch resulting in more than twelve inches of intrusion on the passenger side, pinning him inside.

Amazing Survival and Recovery

Morgan Hofmann, 04/06/2012

April 6, 2012, which happened to be Good Friday, will forever be remembered by the family of then 16 year old Morgan Hofmann. Morgan and his friends were “longboarding” (a longboard is a longer and faster version of a skateboard) in a new subdivision in Woodstock when he fell and hit his head.

August 2011

Patient's Wife Grateful for Care

Kristy Nixon, 08/10/2011

I have always wondered if there was a way to get a notification over to the crew that attended my husband after a bad motorcycle wreck in kenosha wisconsin, august 10, 2011.

July 2011

Honeysuckle Doe

Camisha A. Miller, 07/02/2011

Good morning, and welcome to July 2, 2011. As I got up that morning I went on an amazing three and half mile training run, gearing-up for the Plymouth, Wisconsin Cheesehead Chase 5K Race in which my goal was to win my age group. Running eight minute miles was a great accomplishment that day, but that is the last thing I will remember for quite some time.

December 2010

Christmas Break

Amanda Hackl, 12/27/2010

I was in the middle of my senior year of high school. It just so happened that I was on Christmas break when my accident happened. December 27th, 2010 is when I had my Flight For Life ride. I was out at a barn, riding a horse when the dog came in and caught the corner of her eye and spooked her.

September 2010

From Flight Nurse to Softball Teammate

Chris Lund, 09/16/2010

September 16th, 2010 is a night I will never forget ,and neither will my family.

August 2010

Moving Mountains to Run Again

Sarah Schaefer, 08/26/2010

My name is Sarah Schaefer and on August 26, 2010 I fell off my horse and broke my leg. My horse stepped on me causing a compound fracture to the femur in my right leg. When I was found I was evaluated by paramedics and Flight For Life was called right away. It turns out the dispatchers at Flight for Life’s headquarters heard the call for the ambulance and started getting the helicopter ready to go.

November 2009

Giving Blood Gives Back

Rose Faucher, 11/17/2009

Rose Faucher knows a thing or two about the importance of donating blood. After all, she has been giving blood since 1966. That was the year she helped her mother run the Holyland Blood Drive throughout Calumet, Fond du Lac, and Sheboygan Counties. In 2003, Rose became the Coordinator of the event, held five times each year. But on November 17th, 2009, Rose gained a whole new appreciation of the value of donated blood.

September 2009

Surviving a Fall into a Channel

Ben Nachowicz, 09/25/2009

September 25, 2009 will forever be remembered by the family of three year old Ben Nachowicz. Ben, his brother Joe and mom Michelle were outside at their home in Fox Lake which is right on the channel. While the boys were playing Michelle stepped inside the house for a moment and when she came back out Joe was crying that Ben was in the water.

May 2009

A Patient Update: Kayla Radtke

Kayla Radtke, 05/05/2009

Former patient Kayla Radtke and her mom Melissa came by to visit the Flight For Life-McHenry base in June to present the crew with a $2000 donation. The donation came from the proceeds of an annual golf outing fundraiser that is held in honor of Melissa’s mom, JoAnn Wagner, who died of pancreatic cancer when she was only fifty-four.

October 2008

Happy Feet!

Sam Phillipson, 10/04/2008

Recently, the Flight For Life–Waukesha Base had a special visitor. Former patient, young Sam Phillipson, stopped by to say “hello,” and brought along his sister, Julia, and mom, Carole. Sam is a typical, rambunctious five-year-old (but he minded his mom very well!) – who explored the lobby, went up and down the stairs to the second floor, stopped to visit in the Communications Center, and trotted down the hallway to the hangar. He hoped to see the helicopter, but it was out on a flight.

September 2008

Love is Everything

Bob Dineen, 09/09/2008

September 9, 2008 began like any other day. The task in the afternoon was to help my brother in law cut down a few trees. I had done this many times and it was a hobby of mine. It wouldn't take long.

June 2007

Recognizing our 25,000th patient

Nissa Stenz Fredrich, 06/11/2007

On June 11, 2007, college student Nissa Stenz was en route to her summer job when her motorcycle collided with a dump truck, changing her life forever. The Fond du Lac County Communication Center quickly mobilized the Eden Fire Department and First Responders, Campbellsport Fire Department, and the City of Fond du Lac Fire Department to respond.

April 2007

Tragedy Leads to a Career in Nursing

Emily Salgado, 04/28/2007

Saturday April 28, 2007 was my worst day, and some of your crew members might remember it.

June 2005

Committed to Recovery

Jack LeMaster, 06/12/2005

In June 12, 2005, off-duty Gurnee Police Officer Jack LeMaster’s life changed forever as he was traveling to the Chain O’ Lakes where he kept his boat to meet friends. An oncoming car crossed over into Jack’s lane and he was hit head-on. Jack was pinned in his car and required extrication by the fire department.

May 2004

First a Rescue, then an Inspiration

Kathy Robinson, 05/18/2004

Three years ago, three Flight For Life crew members saved my life. To them, I can only say “THANK YOU.” To the rest of you readers, I can also tell you how Kathy, Guy and Steve helped me during the following two years of recovery, as well.

January 2003

Mother of healthy 11 year-old gives thanks

Catherine Sobin, 01/01/2003

After the birth of our son, we brought our beautiful baby boy home.

December 2002

A Christmas Miracle Comes Back for a Visit

Jack Pulaski, 12/11/2002

On December 11, 2002 Jack Pulaski was hanging Christmas lights on the front of his house in Huntley, Illinois. His daughter, Kari, had just left for work. It was 3:45 in the afternoon. Jack’s son, Brian, was at work. At 7:15, Brian came home from work to find his father lying in the bathroom in a pool of blood.

July 2000

Accident Leads to Career in Public Safety

Tiffany Cole, 07/10/2000

July 10th, 2000. I was 19 years old and working two jobs at the time. I had worked 3rd shift and went for breakfast with a friend of mine. I had been awake for over 24 hours when on the way home, I fell asleep at the wheel, crossing the center line into oncoming traffic. The refrigerated F600 box truck that I struck won the battle against my little Chevy S10.

July 1999

A Second Chance at Life

Jeff Hensel, 07/23/1999

For the last several years on July 23rd, I have received a message on my voicemail. The message is always the same, “Hi Tammy, this is Jeff Hensel. Today is the anniversary of my accident, and I am just calling to thank the crew from Flight For Life for saving my life. If it weren’t for a lot of people that took care of me, I would not be here today.”

October 1997

Flight For Life's 10,000th Patient

LeRoy Gomez, 10/18/1997

On October 18, 1997 life took a dramatic turn for LeRoy Gomez. He stopped to help the victims of an auto accident and became a victim himself. It was on this night that LeRoy was cared for by former FFL patient, Gurnee FF/paramedic Bob Szczerba.

March 1997

Former patient tells his story

Bob Szczerba, 03/23/1997

It was Sunday morning, March 23rd 1997, and firefighter/paramedic Bob Szczerba was checking equipment in the back of the ambulance at the Gurnee Fire Department when the unthinkable happened...

September 1996

One of Our Own: Looking Back

Lisa Heinz, 09/15/1996

At 8:10 Sunday morning September 15, 1996, Lauderdale-LaGrange Fire Department Rescue Squad and Crash Crew respond to a two car, head-on collision on Highway 12/67 in Wisconsin. Both drivers are trapped in their vehicles. The male driver of one vehicle appears to have only minor injuries (later found to have a fractured right ankle). The belted female driver of the other vehicle is more seriously injured.

September 1995

Twenty-Five Years Later

Marc Slavik, 09/25/1995

Marc’s accident occurred on a Monday morning, September 25, 1995. Marc was heading to work when a 10-wheel dump truck (landscaper), while attempting to avoid hitting another vehicle, crossed over into oncoming traffic striking Marc’s car and pinning it against a light pole. The landscape truck ended up on top of Marc’s car.

January 1993

A Patient Update: Brad Caddock

Brad Caddock, 01/23/1993

On a brisk January evening in 1993, Brad Caddock and his brother decided to go skiing at Sunburst Ski Hill in Kewaskum. At that time, Brad was a high school junior and active in a variety of sports, including cross-country, track, and skiing. He was also in an early entry program for a military career and had just attended his first meeting. Little did he know that his life’s path was going to take an abrupt turn.

February 1992

FFL-McHenry’s 1000th Patient

April Harman, 02/01/1992

It’s been 22 years since I was transported by Flight For Life-McHenry; I was two years old at the time. I was flown to Rockford Memorial Hospital after experiencing a dangerously high blood sugar level that resulted in my being diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic.

July 1991

From Patient to Provider

John Sorensen, 07/19/1991

June 19, 1991 is a date I will not forget. Thanks to a really good EMS crew, an ER physician who realized his hospital could not handle the injuries I suffered from a virtual head-on motorcycle crash, and a Flight For Life helicopter, I was transferred to Froedtert Hospital and survived.

December 1989

Meeting Other Patients Helps Heal

Scott Fehr, 12/10/1989

I was an 18 year old kid who had just graduated high school 6 months earlier. I worked at a large car dealer in Milwaukee. The Christmas party was hours away. I had a room booked at the hotel, two cases of beer. I needed to pick up my friend at his house and meet our friends at the hotel. The last memory I have is making phone calls at his kitchen table.

November 1989

Giving Back by Donating Blood

Shawn Gosciniak, 11/19/1989

My flight was November 19, 1989 due to a single vehicle car accident at the intersection of Lily Road and Hampton Avenue in Menomonee Falls. I fell asleep at the wheel, striking a telephone pole at the left front tire area, wrapping it around the pole. An EMT on her way home came upon the crash shortly after it had occurred and called 911.

October 1986

All Grown Up and Doing Fine

Sara Strassburg Hodorski, 10/18/1986

On October 18, 1986 I had just gotten a new soccer ball that a friend and I were playing with in my front yard. I ran into the road after it and was hit by a car. The Hustisford EMS crew decided to call Flight For Life because of the severity of my injuries.

August 1984

Angels in the Sky

Brenda Brusha, 08/16/1984

My story begins 30 years ago — the evening of August 16, 1984. It was a very hot summer night and I was lying on the sofa watching M*A*S*H. My husband, Brian, was at a meeting. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but “back then” we didn't have a convenient remote control for our TVs, or even a cell phone.

January 1984

30 Years and Counting

Mary Louise Bachmann, 01/29/1984

On January 29, 1984, my mother, who was 42 at the time, was vacationing in Eagle River, Wisconsin and was headed out for a day of snowmobiling. She started her snowmobile and proceeded down the same road they always traveled when she realized something was wrong. The throttle was stuck and before she could decide what to do, she crashed straight into a tree. When she looked up she saw a friend running her direction with his arms out ready to lift her out of the snow; she immediately told him not to move her. She knew the injury was bad.