Family honors nurse’s legacy on 12th anniversary of Mercy Flight crash

Posted at 9:40 AM, Feb 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 11:40:39-05

GREAT FALLS – Wednesday marked 12 years since a Mercy Flight crash took the lives of three people.

The crew was on their way to pick up a patient in Bozeman when their plane crashed north of Belgrade.

The victims included Mercy Flight pilot Vince Kirol, paramedic/firefighter Paul Erickson, and Benefis nurse Darcy Dengel.

As the community mourns and remembers these victims, their families are doing what they can to continue their legacies.

“She wanted to help people, wanted to help improve people’s lives,” said Darcy Dengel’s father, Rich.

Rich says they do many things to keep Darcy’s memory alive. One is supporting Darcy’s passion for nursing.

“She wanted to be a nurse ever since she was a little girl. That never wavered,” Rich said.

Their foundation, Darcy’s Place, helps nurses who graduated from a high school in Montana pursue a career in nursing.

“I can’t say enough about the applicants. Nursing applicants are phenomenal people,” Rich said.

Since starting the foundation in 2009, they have helped 125 students. Rich says the foundation is one way to honor Darcy.

“She dearly loved what she was doing. If she could improve people’s lives, that’s what she did,” Rich said.

Rich recalls that right after the accident the community was extremely supportive. He recalls the letters and cards they received, some even remembering how Darcy saved lives.

“The Great Falls community was so wonderful after that accident. We had so many cards and letters saying how wonderful Darcy was when they were in the hospital or on a flight. Those people honored her. We still have those cards and letters and testaments of who Darcy helped,” Rich said.

-Elizabeth Transue reporting for MTN News