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Staff for Life Helicopter Service
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On Sept. 15, 1980, University of Missouri Health Care began a joint venture with the Missouri State Highway Patrol to deliver air transport to the critically injured. During that first year, between 65 and 70 patients were served by The Staff for Life Helicopter Service. 
On Nov. 24, 1982, a dedicated helicopter, an ASTAR similar to those in use today, is utilized. This was the beginning of the program's "Tootsie Copter" era, an affectionate name that referrred to the brown, orange, and white colors of the helicopter.
In the summer of 1984, University of Missouri Health Care recognized the need for air medical transport at the Lake of the Ozarks. Due to many remote locations around the lake, it took a ground ambulance extended time to get to Lake Regional Hospital. By air, transport times were reduced dramatically. The following year, The Staff for Life #2 helicopter became a permanent fixture at Lake Regional Hospital.

In 1988, the ASTAR was replaced with a state-of-the-art twin engine BK 117.


Until 1990, The Staff for Life Helicopter Service had operated with a nurse and pilot on the aircraft. At this time, flight paramedics were included as part of the flight crew and brought a different aspect of patient care to air medical services. With their advanced training and skills in field medicine, flight paramedics enhanced the flight crews' medical capabilities.

In 1993, 10UM, the new BK 117, was painted teal and grey, replacing the old brown and orange aircraft.

In 2001, The Staff for Life Helicopter Service transitioned to a communtity-based model, owned and operated by Rocky Mountain Helicopters Inc., now Air Methods Corporation, maintaining a contractual affiliation with University Hospital.

On April 23, 2002, Missouri State Legislators recognized The Staff for Life Helicopter Service's  20 years of service. Governor Bob Holden signs a proclamation acknowledging the helicopter service to the citizens of Missouri.


In May 2003, The Staff for Life Helicopter Service became one of the few programs in the country to carry life-saving blood on board each aircraft. 

Later in 2003, The Staff for Life Helicopter Service earned the first of many accreditations from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS).

The Staff for Life #3 helicopter base and station opened in September 2005 in La Monte, just 8 miles west of Sedalia.
  In 2007, the Staff for Life #2 helicopter was upgraded to an advanced aircraft with more powerful B2 engines. 

During that year, Lake Regional Hospital expanded its emergency department allowing the aircraft to be moved to a new helipad, next to the hospital's emergency department.
In 2010, The Staff for Life Helicopter Service added advanced terrain avoidance systems and night vision goggles to its ASTAR aircraft to improve safety and visibility during night transports.  

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