Bike ride, flyover remember nurse killed in 2019 helicopter crash near Brainerd

They are not forgotten. That’s the message a group of cyclers wants to be heard as they pedal around the state to honor EMS workers who have recently died.

Friday's ride included a stop in Lester Prairie, Minnesota to remember a nurse lost last year in a tragic helicopter crash.

The small event on Friday was held in place of bigger EMS Memorial Bike Rides that normally happen around the country but have been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.

"What we decided to do here in the Midwest is ride for the individuals that were lost in Minnesota and Wisconsin," said National EMS Memorial Bike Ride Board Member Edward Eroe. "So each day we rode for a different person."

Friday's honoree was flight nurse Deb Schott.

"She absolutely loved [her work] that’s all she would talk about everytime you saw her out in public," said McLeod County Sheriff Chief Deputy Tim Langenfeld. "[If you asked her] she’d just rave about it, it’s what she really loved to do."

Deb and her colleague, pilot Tim McDonald, were killed in June of 2019 when the North Memorial Air Care helicopter they were on crashed. A third on board, flight paramedic Josh Duda, survived.

Along with Friday’s ride, a flyover was held in remembrance as their names were read alongside other EMS workers around the country also gone too soon.

"Hard to talk about," said paramedic David Page. "I knew Tim McDonald when he was a paramedic at Allina."

For those riding, many EMS Workers themselves, it’s personal. "She was a great advocate for being safe, for having great health care and she's a great, great person," said Page.

Paramedic David Page knew both Tim and Deb and he rides to raise awareness of his profession.

"Minnesotans should know most of the state is covered by volunteer EMTs who sacrifice their time, their lives without often any reward whatsoever," he said.

And, to let the world know, they always remember.

"We care that we’re still here that we’ll never forget," he added.