2017 Honoree Morris Linker | Reception Hospital

Morris Linker, 49, of the Bronx, was killed in the line of duty August 24, 1943, serving as an ambulance driver for Reception Hospital on Roosevelt Island.

Linker swerved to avoid a pedestrian and crashed the ambulance into the East River where it was submerged with Linker pinned behind the wheel.

According to the New York Times archives, an elderly woman stepped out in front of the ambulance he was driving, and he steered sharply to avoid her.

“The fender dumped her in the drive, more frightened than hurt, but the ambulance leaped the lower curb, tore down (a tree and hit a man),” who also died later, the New York Times article read in part.

“The ambulance, still upright, cleared the retaining wall and landed on its wheels in 10-feet of water, completely submerged.” Two hours passed before a department of sanitation truck lifted the vehicle where they found Linker slumped over the wheel.

2017 Honoree Deborah Kroon | Cal-Ore Life Flight

In the pre-dawn hours on July 29, 2016, flight nurse Deborah Kroon, along with flight paramedic Michelle Tarwater and pilot Larry Mills, were aboard a Cal-Ore Life Flight fixed wing aircraft transporting a patient when it crashed near the Arcata Airport, leaving no survivors.

Deborah will always be remembered for her smile, laughter, and sense of humor. Her reassuring words to her patients were a comfort to many.

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.