40 years of air ambulance service in Omaha area

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OMAHA, Neb (WOWT) Forty years and counting.

That’s how long medical helicopters have served the Omaha area.

Countless lives have been touched over the past four decades through Omaha's medical helicopter service.

And the Crockett family was there from the beginning.

“Everybody was so proud of life flight and so proud to be associated with it and they just threw themselves into it and the hospitals supported it 100 percent,” Sherri Crockett said. “Iit saved so many lives. Brought so many people in that would not have made it without the rapid transit to the hospital.”

John Crockett worked as an overnight dispatcher in those early days.

He passed away in 2007.

But his wife Sherri, daughter Niki and grandson Brody came to a celebration of the service today at the old Creighton Hospital near 30th and California.

For ten-year-old Brody, this is more than taking a seat in a helicopter.

“He never got to meet his grandpa, but today he gets to see where grandpa worked for 30 years,” Niki Crockett said “(It was) very nice to see it reminds me so much of my dad. Yeah, it's very nice to see this come together.”

Sherri Crockett recalls those early days and how today's procedures were shaped.

“They (dispatchers) were never allowed to tell the pilots what the case was they were going after,” she said. “The pilots had to make the run based on weather and flight distance and all that because they knew that if they knew sometimes if it was a child they might risk. Regardless of everything else that's gone on in Omaha with the modification of all the health care systems and everything this still exists and it always will.”

For Brody, it's a chance to connect with a part of his family's history.

“Whenever he sees the helicopter he says grandpa, Niki Crockett said.

Life Net has one helicopter stationed in Omaha and another in Fremont.

Response times average between eight and ten minutes.