FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) - First responders on Thursday lined up to pay their respects to a Flight For life pilot killed in a helicopter crash in Frisco. The memorial procession went from Lakewood all the way up Interstate 70 to Summit County.
Patrick Mahany, 64, died when the helicopter went down shortly after takeoff last Friday. Two other people on board are recovering from severe injuries.
CBS4's Matt Kroschel found it was hard to find someone in Summit County that does not have some connection to the Flight For Life program or the tragedy last Friday. The crash has hit a lot of people very hard.
PHOTO GALLERY: Memorial Procession For Flight For Life Pilot
The memorial procession route was one that Mahany flew above hundreds of times in his 27 years of saving lives -- something those who knew him say he was dedicated to doing every time he got behind the helicopter controls.
"For those of us who knew him, flew with him, our prayers are also out for the two flight nurses who were involved as well," Scott Phillips with Centura Health said.
Phillips saw in the faces along the procession just how much of an impact the crash had on the people who rely on the orange and yellow above.
"The entire trip up we had fire departments, we had ambulance services, we had groups from all over the state," Phillips said.
As the dozens of first responders pulled into the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center parking lot, a row of four-legged first responders joined in the vigil -- search and rescue dogs -- many that Mahany flew to avalanche scenes over the years.
Maybe the most poignant moment of the day was another Flight For Life helicopter landing at the hospital in Frisco once again.
"It was very, very powerful. As we mourn the loss of Patrick of the crash of the helicopter, we also realize that there are others out there and this crew will come back and this crew is going to be here for the community," Phillips said.
The memorial service begins at 10 a.m. in Dillon at the Dillon Amphitheatre on Friday and organizers are expecting thousands of people will show up to pay their final respects.
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