Celebrating New Beginnings

June 27, 2013

Rockford Health System marked a new milestone in its REACT program today, when it unveiled its new helicopter with a ceremonial first flight. The EC 135 is fully equipped with the latest in medical equipment and technology and functions as an airborne emergency room. It will carry a new, state-of-the-art flight bed for neonatal transports.

The aircraft arrived in Rockford earlier this week, and the crew has spent the last few days familiarizing themselves with the new helicopter. The crew also had the opportunity to add one additional detail to the new helicopter – three stars that symbolize Karen Hollis, Jim Dillow and Andy Olesen; three heroes who are no longer with us.

“Their lives and their work were dedicated to helping others and saving lives. We grieve their loss and we will always remember them and their devotion to serving others,” said Rockford Health System President & CEO Gary Kaatz.”Today we celebrate the best way possible of honoring their sacrifice and service – by continuing the tradition that began in 1987 when Rockford Memorial Hospital’s REACT helicopter took its first flight.”

Rockford Health System partners with Air Methods to provide the REACT program, which transports patients by air or ground from regional hospitals or trauma sites in a 14-county region covering northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. The REACT team responds to emergency injury scenes; provides inter-hospital critical care transport; pediatric medical and trauma transport; and high risk maternal emergency and neonatal transport. The program averages 600 transports a year, and has been operating since January with a temporary helicopter.

Contact the News Room Staff

Rockford Health System Marketing and Public Relations staff are available 24 hours a day to assist local, regional, and national news media in locating an expert spokesperson, obtaining information on a news item, or answering questions about a news release or event.

Members of the news media may contact Marketing and Public Relations at (815) 971-6239 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. After hours or on weekends, call the main hospital at (815) 971-5000, and ask the operator to page the Marketing and Public Relations staff member on call.