ONLY ON 13 NEWS: Shannon helipad memorial remembers former resid - – Rockford’s News Leader

ONLY ON 13 NEWS: Shannon helipad memorial remembers former resident and trauma flight nurse


A new addition to the village of Shannon aims to help first-responders save lives - but it also brings a special meaning to one family. 

Helicopters typically have to land on grass in the small town of Shannon. But soon - they will have a new landing spot.

Dozens gathered Sunday to see the town's first helipad, but they also were here to remember Jim Dillow.

Jim grew up in Shannon and was a react flight nurse, until around 3 years ago when he and 2 other crew members lost their lives on the job- - after their helicopter crashed.

"He was quite the family man, he loved his whole family," said Janice Dillow, Jim's mother. "He enjoyed helping people and he loved his job."

The community has been working on installing a new helipad for a few years, but when the tragic accident happened, they say it brought new light to the cause.

"It seemed fitting that we dedicate such a great project to Jim and the crew and the family," said Jim Klinefelter, Chief of Shannon Fire Department.

Tim Ruter, who organized the memorial, said it wouldn't have been possible without help from the entire community, plus several neighboring towns.

"Anyone that I asked for help -- I never ever heard the word no," Ruter said.

Jim's sisters, Julie Liles and Vickie Meinsma, said it's overwhelming to see the support of so many.

"For them to have this pad to train and and do all the things that they need to do," Liles said. "To help others, that's what Jim would've wanted and we are just really proud of that."

The fire department says the pad will be a great assets for training, and of course - for emergency helicopters, like Jim used to work on.

"We look at our law enforcement, fire, EMS professionals that stand everyday in uniform to take that final call," Klinefelter said. "I think, to do this today really is tribute."

Building a lasting memory for this small town and anyone who lands in it.

The helipad is located in Lion's Park in Shannon and is open to anyone that wants to pay tribute Jim Dillow at the memorial.

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