I have done some very cool things as a pilot. One is my duty of flying fire detection for Minnesota DNR during the spring and fall wildfire season in Minnesota. The reason we are airborne is to protect people and property. That is a microcosm however, of the duties air ambulance pilots reflect. I was reminded of this yesterday observing Life Link on the helipad at Fairview Range Medical Center. As I was listening to the gentle cacophony engendered by the main rotor and turbine, I recalled an article highlighting the need to move the helipad for St. Luke’s in Duluth. Five words in the narrative haunt me; despite neighborhood concerns about noise. The sound created by air ambulances is not noise. It is precious time that equates to a second chance for someone that is unarguably facing one of life’s greatest challenges. As a pilot, I truly appreciate these selfless individuals whom fly in all kinds of weather. Along with my fellow aviators, we have viewed how quickly they can become airborne when the unthinkable happens, and they are needed. On a personal note, there is a group of us that are unified regarding an aircraft accident in Hibbing several years ago. Life Link was available, and the injured pilot went direct to Duluth. The consensus is he enjoys life today because of the time saved transporting him to Duluth. We have much to be grateful for living on the Range. A piece of the Range living pie we can reference, and outwardly embrace and extoll, is Range Regional Airport. The location is constantly in flux and always improving. One of the hidden jewels embedded on the field is the historic WPA hanger, which is now a first-class facility to house Life Link. When you drive past the airport and observe that landmark building which has stood the test of time, think about the positive impact it reflects for our community. And if you have a window cracked, you may hear that symphony of life saving music generated by the creation of lift as they race the clock to save lives.

Terry Hocking



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