ROCKFORD, Ill. — The fallen flight crew that died in a December REACT helicopter crash will be honored on a downtown emergency responders memorial.
Pilot Andy Olesen and flight nurses Jim Dillow and Karen Hollis will have their names engraved on the memorial wall of the prospective Winnebago County 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial, officials announced today.
“To add names to this memorial is discouraging, but it is necessary and appropriate. We want the public to have a connection with these heroes,” said Will Pederson, memorial board president. “It is my hope that everyone from our area will visit, reflect and remember who they were and what they gave.”
The three members of the Rockford Memorial Hospital REACT helicopter crew encountered harsh weather and intended to turn back when they crashed in a field near Compton around 8:30 p.m. Dec. 10, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB is still investigating the crash.
“They would be the ones that really didn’t want any recognition. They were really true heroes and responders who were always caring about other people, always putting other people first,” said Ron Meadors, REACT program director. “It’s important that they’re remembered now and in the future for what they really stood for.”
The names of the flight crew will join 22 others on the planned memorial wall, which recognizes first responders who died in the line of duty or, in some cases, unexpectedly while off-duty. The list recognizes emergency workers going back to 1856.
"It is our duty to make sure they are never, ever forgotten," Gary Kaatz, president and CEO of Rockford Health System, said of the REACT team.
The 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial is designed as a monument to honor those who died on Sept. 11, 2001. It also pays homage to local emergency responders who died in the line of duty. The memorial is planned to be built at the corner of West State Street and Kilburn Avenue and features steel from the World Trade Center towers in New York.
The nonprofit Winnebago County 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial has raised about $150,000 so far to pay for construction of the monument. It expects to have about $200,000 by the end of the year. The goal is to raise $911,001, a number that is both symbolic and meant to cover construction and maintenance costs. The nonprofit committee’s goal is to complete the monument by Sept. 11, 2016.
Wall of Honor
The names of the three members of the REACT helicopter crew that died in a December crash will be added to the Winnebago County 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial Wall of Honor. Here are the 25 names planned for the future Wall of Honor.
1. Sheriff John Taylor, 11/11/1856, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department
2. Captain Ernest Pearson, 3/7/1909, Rockford Fire Department
3. Officer Lorenzo Gillogly, 10/12/1917, Rockford Police Department
4. Arthur Wakeford, 2/26/1922, Rockford Fire Department
5. Officer Frank Cichella, 2/25/1927, Rockford Police Department
6. Officer Arthur Bassett, 9/22/1927, Rockford Police Department
7. Deputy Samuel Rotolo, 9/27/1936, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department
8. Deputy John Germano, 4/17/1938, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department
9. Deputy Howard Smith, 9/16/1946, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department
10. Firefighter Jack Whit, 1963, South Beloit Fire Department
11. Deputy William Goldy, 4/15/1965, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department
12. Firefighter Jack Stoll, 4/21/1967, Cherry Valley Fire Department
13. Officer Charles Williams, 6/1/1972, Rockford Police Department
14. Firefighter Richard Klaman, 1/27/1973, North Park Fire Department
15. Deputy Michael Mayborne, 3/15/1974, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department
16. Chief Arthur Weston, 10/27/1977, Rockton Police Department
17. Officer Randal Blank, 12/31/1980, Rockford Police Department
18. Firefighter Terry Berg, 6/3/1983, Cherry Valley Fire Department
19. Firefighter Dale Zimmerman, 1/13/1996, Pecatonica Fire Department
20. Detective Kevin Rice, Sr., 8/31/2001, Rockford Police Department
21. District Chief Kevin McIntyre, 4/18/2004, Rockford Fire Department
22. Firefighter Terrance Freeman, Sr., 11/22/2009, Rockford Fire Department
23. Flight nurse Jim Dillow, 12/10/2012, REACT
24. Flight nurse Karen Hollis, 12/10/2012, REACT
25. Pilot Andy Olesen, 12/10/2012, REACT