First responders honor fallen flight nurse killed in North Memorial helicopter crash

Updated: July 03, 2019 06:17 PM

Hundreds of law enforcement officers and first responders gathered in Howard Lake Wednesday to pay their respects to flight nurse Deb Schott.

Schott died early Friday morning when the North Memorial Health Air Care helicopter she was working on crashed at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. The pilot, Tim McDonald, also died. Paramedic Josh Duda, the sole survivor, remains hospitalized in critical condition. No patients were on board at the time.

Dressed in their blue uniforms, Schott’s colleagues from the air care unit surrounded the family after the funeral service.

Dispatch aired the final call for Schott, ending the radio transmission with “you will be missed, but never forgotten.”

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To honor Schott, a patriot guard posted the colors during a 21-gun salute and a flyover that included four medical helicopters.

“That was incredible,” said George Schwinghammer, who stood on the patriot guard line.

He said he was surprised at just how many first responders came for the funeral.

“I was personally unprepared for this today,” Schwinghammer said. “The place was full. A fitting tribute to the lady.”

Community members also found a way to honor Schott by driving a dozen classic cars to the funeral. Schott and her husband Gary often went to car shows across the state.

Many of the same first responders are expected to gather again, next week, when McDonald will be laid to rest.

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Kirsten Swanson

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