2017 Honoree Yuji Irie | American Medflight

Captain Yuji Irie, of American Medflight in Elko, Nevada, died November 18, 2016, while working as an EMS pilot, transporting a critically ill patient on an American Medflight aircraft when it crashed killing four people.

Yuji was a Japanese immigrant to the United States. He had become a skilled and well-respected pilot, flying for companies from Las Vegas to the Mariana Islands in the South Pacific.

He planned to finish out his career flying with American Medflight because he loved helping people who were in need of critical care transport.

Yuji dreamed of building his own airplane and flying it across the Pacific to Japan. He was able to build his airplane. It sits in his son’s garage in Las Vegas.

2017 Honoree Chad Hammond | Haynes Life Flight

Chad Hammond, 29, of Haynes Life Flight of Montgomery, Alabama, died in the early morning hours of March 26, 2016.

The Haynes Life Flight 2 helicopter crashed while in route to Montgomery, Alabama. Chad, serving as pilot, flight paramedic Jason Snipes, flight nurse Stacey Cernadas, along with the patient, all perished in the crash.

In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration recognized Chad with inclusion in the FAA Airman Certification Database. This certification is for pilots who have met or exceeded the high educational, licensing, and medical standards established by the FAA.

His dream to become a Life Flight pilot became a reality in October 2015. He had also been a Certified Flight Instructor for Cloud 9 Helicopters.