On Monday, LifeFlight of Maine celebrated 20 years of service at a dedication ceremony and open house at the LifeFlight base at the Bangor International Airport.
The event brought together paramedics, pilots, patients and Northern Light Health leaders for a morning to reflect, tour the aircraft, visit the crew and celebrate the program, which has made strides in emergency medical care in the state.
Waterville’s KC Ford was one of the three LifeFlight patients present at the event.
Ford was traveling from Matinicus Isle to Owls Head when the small plane she was flying in crashed in the ocean shortly after takeoff. Ford managed to escape the wreck and was in the water for 45 minutes before being reached by paramedics, including the Matinicus Ambulance and LifeFlight, among others.
As a LifeFlight patient, Ford recognizes the importance the program has in the health care field.
“It is critical for everyone in the state of Maine to have equal access to emergency medicine. They’re there when you need them,” Ford said. “They’re personal and have a quality of kindness that you can’t find everywhere.”
Husson University student Tristan Kaldenburg, who was also a LifeFlight passenger, was traveling back to Bangor from his home in Littleton, Massachusetts, when he was injured in a head-on collision in 2017. Receiving multiple injuries in the crash, including to his ribs, jaw and spleen, Kaldenberg says LifeFlight was instrumental in saving his life.
“It’s a necessity. Without LifeFlight, I would not be here today,” Kaldenberg said. “We need it.”