TraumaOne celebrates 30 years of life-saving flight

UF Health Jacksonville honored the doctors and pilots who fought to save critically-ill patients when it held the 30th anniversary of its TraumaOne Flight Services with a community celebration at the hospital’s 8th Street campus Aug. 28.

On hand at the ceremony were Dr. Joseph Tepas of Riverside and Dr. Vukich, two pioneers of the program, which got its start in 1985. Tepas and Vukich have watched the program grow from one helicopter to three, which are now based in Lake City, St. Augustine and Yulee. This enables the service to reach patients as quickly as possible throughout the region and treat them while they are being flown to UF Health Jacksonville or other facilities until they reach definitive care.

During the ceremony, Dr. J. Bracken Burns, Medical Director of TraumaOne Flight Services, was given a large framed photograph as a going away present from his staff. Burns is leaving Jacksonville to become a professor of surgery at East Tennessee State University. He was recently presented with the Raymond H. Alexander, MD, EMS Medical Director of the Year Award by the Florida Department of Health.

Dr. J. Bracken Burns, former Medical Director of TraumaOne Flight Services, receives a going away present from his staff.

Dr. J. Bracken Burns, former Medical Director of TraumaOne Flight Services, receives a going away present from his staff.

Joe Gerard, lead dispatcher, John Barber, lead pilot and Wes Eskew, an original paramedic, enjoy the festivities at TraumaOne’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Joe Gerard, lead dispatcher, John Barber, lead pilot and Wes Eskew, an original paramedic, enjoy the festivities at TraumaOne’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Dr. J. Bracken Burns, former Medical Director of TraumaOne Flight Services, receives a going away present from his staff.

Dr. J. Bracken Burns, former Medical Director of TraumaOne Flight Services, receives a going away present from his staff.

Dr. Joseph Tepas of Riverside speaks with Curry Pajcic of Ortega during the 30th anniversary celebration of TraumaOne Flight Services. Tepas, who is now Chief of Pediatric Trauma at UF Health Jacksonville, was one of three pioneers of the program.

Dr. Joseph Tepas of Riverside speaks with Curry Pajcic of Ortega during the 30th anniversary celebration of TraumaOne Flight Services. Tepas, who is now Chief of Pediatric Trauma at UF Health Jacksonville, was one of three pioneers of the program.

Curry Pajcic of Ortega and Andrew Kerwin, Head of Acute Care Surgery at UF Health Jacksonville.

Curry Pajcic of Ortega and Andrew Kerwin, Head of Acute Care Surgery at UF Health Jacksonville.

Russ Armistead, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and Chad E. McIntyre, UF Health Jacksonville’s Manager of TraumaOne Flight Services.

Russ Armistead, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and Chad E. McIntyre, UF Health Jacksonville’s Manager of TraumaOne Flight Services.

Tom and Lorraine Vukich Keith, who was the first director of the TraumaOne flight program.

Tom and Lorraine Vukich Keith, who was the first director of the TraumaOne flight program.

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