Funeral services held for crew killed in SkyLife crash

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kyle Juarez's family joined hundreds of people at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church to say goodbye to the 37-year old flight paramedic.

Ambulances and other first responder vehicles lined the street in front of the church to show their support. "You can see the first responders and other agencies here has been really overwhelming," said Lisa Epps with SkyLife. "And also helpful to know others have come together, others are joining us in this time of sorrow."

Juarez was treating a patient en route to a hospital in Bakersfield when the SkyLife helicopter he was in crashed. Three others -- the patient, pilot and a flight nurse -- were also killed.

"Certainly this has hit hard for all 600 of our employees and the community at large," Todd Valeri with American Ambulance said. "Today is as much a celebration of life as it is mourning loss."

As a tribute to Juarez, American Ambulance number 147 was parked out front. It was the last ground ambulance that he worked a shift in.

Cameras were not allowed inside for the service. Many say the tribute was personal as Juarez used to be an alter boy at the church and attended Saint Anthony's school as a child.

"They really did a very nice job," Valeri said. "And an appropriate tribute to Kyle."

"It's very humbling, it's always humbling and it's painful," said Lt. Robert Salazar with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. "It's painful to see the families and extended families affected by a loss like this."

Afterwards, everyone gathered in front of Saint Anthony's where a swarm of helicopters circled overhead, honoring Juarez and his service to patients in the sky.
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