In a touching memorial prior to Friday’s varsity football game between Henrietta and Millsap, Bearcat fans, faculty, staff and students honored victims of the Oct. 4 Air Evac helicopter crash in Wichita Falls.
Flight nurse Leslie Stewart, 27, and flight paramedic Johan van der Colff, IV, 51, were members of Air Evac Life Team 25 based in Duncan, Okla. Both were aboard the flight to United Regional Healthcare Center in Wichita Falls when the helicopter crashed near the hospital.
Pilot Zechariah Smith was treated for serious injuries at United Regional hospital in Wichita Falls and has since been released, while Stewart, 27, Van der Colff, 51, were transported to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Stewart died Wednesday, Oct. 8. and Van der Colff died Wednesday, Oct. 22 succumbing to injuries suffered in the accident.
The patient, a 26-year-old gunshot victim from Waurika, Okla., did not survive the wreck.
Representing the Air Evac team, Program Director Roger Ritchie, pilot Chris O’Brien, flight nurse Keri Arrelano and flight medic Johnny Cendroski delivered the game ball to Bearcat Stadium.
Fans on both sides stood in silence as the Air Evac crew stood at the 50 yard line and the Henrietta Band played Amazing Grace. Gary Parrish, high school principal, presented Air Evac with a game ball signed by the Henrietta team.
Friday’s memorial was held following the annual senior night presentation for the parents of graduating football players and band members.