PORT CLYDE, Maine — Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster has pledged $3 million to LifeFlight’s campaign for a third helicopter, half of the total needed for the aircraft.
The announcement was made Thursday in Port Clyde, Bean’s hometown and where she owns and operates businesses.
Bean cited LifeFlight’s dedication to excellence, emergency readiness and proven success as reasons why she made the donation, according to LifeFlight’s news release.
“It is desperately needed,” Bean said.
LifeFlight’s two existing helicopters are based in Lewiston and Bangor. LifeFlight, which began in 1998, serves more than 1,600 patients every year. However, LifeFlight is increasingly receiving more requests than it can answer.
“Changes in the healthcare system and demographics in Maine mean the need for LifeFlight will continue to grow,” according to LifeFlight Executive Director Thomas Judge. “This leadership gift from Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster family will help to save more and more lives each year.”
“Maine’s natural resource industries, like fishing, farming and forestry, have inherent dangers. And many of our coastal fishing families live on remote islands like Frenchboro, Vinalhaven, Monhegan and Matinicus. When time is of the essence and a person is in trouble, LifeFlight is there with onboard emergency medical equipment and technology that saves many precious lives, often before a hospital can be reached,” Bean stated.
“This new helicopter, with ‘Next Gen’ avionics, will upgrade all of our current capabilities and safety technology,” Judge said.
He said special detailing in the color scheme will be added to the third helicopter to recognize the deep appreciation for the funding support of Maine’s lobster industry.
In addition to the $6 million price tag for the helicopter, $500,000 worth of specialized equipment is needed, he said. The specialized equipment carried on every transport is the same equipment that is typically found in an intensive care unit, transforming the helicopter into a flying hospital.
LifeFlight of Maine is an independent non-profit charitable air medical and critical care transport organization.