DILLON, Colo. (CBS4)– Two people who risked their lives to rescue crew members aboard a Flight for Life helicopter when it crashed were awarded the highest honor presented by Lake Dillon Fire Rescue on Friday: the Citizen Heroism Award.
“As most of us know, on July 3rd, the worst of the worst happened,” said Lake Dillon Fire Rescue Chief Jeff Berino.
“In each case the people we are honoring today jumped in to help without hesitation,” said Summit County Sheriff John Minor.
He’s talking about Jimmy Rhodes and Jordan Dobrin. On July 3, Rhodes raced to the helicopter crash in Frisco with nothing but a handheld fire extinguisher and pulled pilot Patrick Mahany from the burning wreckage. Mahany, 64, did not survive the crash.
Mahany’s wife said even though her husband could not be saved, the actions of the men honored on Friday made all the difference.
“Even in all the awful things that happened, something miraculous happened. When most people ran away from the fire, Jimmy ran towards it,” said Patrick’s wife Karen Mahany. “He pulled Patrick out and Patrick was alive, Patrick was talking… and I was able to talk to him and say all the things I wanted to say before he passed away.”
“It was just more of a reaction. I didn’t have time to think about what was going on it was just… I had to get Patrick out of this fire because I couldn’t let this man burn,” said Rhodes.
Dobrin was riding his bicycle past the medical center when the helicopter crashed and helped extinguish the flames engulfing Flight for Life nurse Dave Repsher.
“Jordan Dobrin who happened to be on his bicycle, he saw flight nurse Dave Repsher fully engulfed in flames, stumbled out of the helicopter… he rushed to his aid, extinguishing the flames helping to minimize the injuries and save Repsher’s life,” said Berino.
Repsher suffered burns to nearly 90 percent of his body. He remains hospitalized.
The other flight nurse on board, Matt Bowe, was also injured. He said he is grateful for the heroes who stepped in that day to help them.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the NTSB and few new details have been released. Flight for Life began flying life-saving missions with a replacement “Lifeguard Two” helicopter based out of Frisco shortly after the crash.
“What they did that day is worthy of being called superheroes, they are superheroes,” said Karen Mahany. “I am eternally grateful and my family’s eternally grateful.”
“Selfless acts witnessed that day by many, touched us all,” said Minor.