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Med Evac celebrates 40 years in Northern Colorado

Air ambulance has flown more than 30,000 life-saving missions

GREELEY, Colo. (July 25, 2022) – Ronald Reagan was president; E.T. was being shown on movie-theater screens; Prince William of England was just born, and Med Evac lifted off for its first flight to help a 10-year-old burn victim. The year was 1982.

Since then, the northern Colorado air ambulance service has flown more than 30,000 missions without incident and has been nationally recognized for its safety record and dedication to the communities they serve. 

With helicopters stationed in Greeley, Boulder and Akron, Med Evac – known as AirLife of Greeley in its earlier days -- provides around-the-clock emergency response and medical transport of adult and pediatric patients in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas.

Over the years, the air ambulance service has saved trauma patients injured by auto accidents, snow-mobile turnovers and oil-well explosions as well as those experiencing heart attacks and strokes in remote locations.

With helicopters that can go as fast as 150 miles an hour, stocked with equipment such as ventilators, cardiac monitors, medical oxygen, IV pumps and medications, Med Evac nurses and paramedics can provide life-saving care when seconds count.  

“Providing a safe, rapid and high-quality response is key to helping those patients in need,’’ said Joe Darmofal, program director. “And in remote, rural areas where medical facilities can be several hours away by car, we provide an essential alternative. It’s been an honor for us to provide excellent medical care and transport from our bases in northern Colorado.

Also, Med Evac’s team of specially trained nurses and paramedics has helped deliver and care for high-risk mothers and their newborns. Med Evac has flown transplant patients to receive life-saving organ donations and delivered COVID-19 patients to hospitals that had beds for them.

“Yes, we do it all,’’ says Chip Brownlee, a paramedic who has been with Med Evac since 1987. Brownlee remembers one time where he spent the night camped out on a mountain with a young accident victim who couldn’t be moved until the next day.

“It’s an incredible feeling helping people like that. I guess that’s why I’m still here after all these years.’’

JoAnn Gilliland of Sterling, Colo., knows firsthand of Med Evac’s professionalism and compassion. In 2018, the air ambulance service airlifted her son to a hospital after he suffered massive injuries in an auto accident. Their quick work helped limit his damages, allowing him to recover after being in a coma. But Med Evac didn’t stop there. A year later, Pam Rice, flight paramedic, reached out to the family and offered them a non-emergency ride on a copter.

“They were so great to us. Their fast response was the first step in Bryce’s recovery,’’ Gilliland said. “I can never thank them enough.’’

Note to media: Interviews with Chip Brownlee and Joann Gilliland are available. Please contact [email protected].

To celebrate, Med Evac will hold an anniversary party Saturday Aug. 13 at Island Grove Regional Park. Fun begins at 11 a.m. All are welcome. The party is being hosted by Med-Trans Corporation.

 About Banner Health

Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner also has an academic division, Banner – University Medicine, and a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health-insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits, and Banner operates a free 24/7 nurse line for health questions or concerns. Patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit

North Colorado Medical Center Banner Health

For further information contact us at: [email protected]

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