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This page is dedicated to A member of the Wren Volunteer fire department.He lived a wonderful life of service to the Fire Department and the community. We are here to honor A Great person and a member of our family.God bless him. You have the ultimate set of wings now.

James Archer
Fire fighter James Archer, age 58.
Firefighter James Archer, 58, of the Wren Volunteer Fire Department, was killed on Wednesday, January 5, when his helicopter air ambulance crashed. He was transporting a patient to the hospital while working as a pilot for Air Methods Corporation.

According to Wren Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Alan Haney, Firefighter Archer was “loading a patient onto the air ambulance when the stretcher hit the chin bubble of the helicopter.” The patient was taken off and transported to the hospital by ambulance.A mechanic came and repaired the helicopter. At approximately 11:00 p.m., Firefighter Archer took off en route to his home base. His helicopter crashed a few minutes later.

Asst. Chief Haney said “The mechanic repaired the damage to the helicopter, and it shouldn’t have played a role in the crash.” The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Members of the Wren Volunteer Fire Department were shocked to hear the news of the death of one of their founding members. During his 26-year tenure with the department, Archer served as a board member, and as treasurer of the department. He was also instrumental in having two trucks donated to the department from the Burlington Northern Railway, and in securing a donation of an ambulance from The Mississippi Medical Center. Asst. Chief Haney remembered Firefighter Archer fondly. “James was a huge part of our fire department, and he will be severely missed.”

Firefighter Archer was buried on Sunday, January 9. The Wren Volunteer Fire Department members served as pallbearers. The North Mississippi Medical Center and the Nettleton, MSFD furnished an Honor Guard. A flyover was done by Air Methods Corporation.

Firefighter Archer is survived by his wife Marcia, daughter Leigh Anne,Son-in-law Chris and his granddaughter.

North Mississippi Medical Center has established the James Archer Memorial Fund at Bancorp South, 1 Mississippi Plaza, Tupelo, MS 38804. Gifts may be made at any branch of Bancorp South and will be given to the family.

The Firefighter's Prayer
When I am called to duty, God, wherever flames may rage,
Give me the strength to save some life whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child before it is too late, or save an
older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout, and quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out. I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,
to guard my every neighbor and protect his property.
And if according to my fate I am to lose my life this day,
Please bless with your protecting hand my family this I pray.

For the Extra effort and support that you gave to us here at W.V.F.D.

James with the NMMC helicopter
James Archer, who began flying with North Mississippi Air in 1987, was a pilot for Air Methods Corporation, formerly Rocky Mountain Helicopters (RMH), based at North Mississippi Medical Center.

NMMC unveils memorial for pilot killed in crash

3/14/2005 2:40:13 AM
Daily Journal

By Errol Castens

Daily Journal

TUPELO - A granite monument, an honor guard and a flyover memorialized the only North Mississippi Medical Center pilot ever killed in the line of duty.

Relatives and co-workers gathered Sunday afternoon near the emergency services entrance to the hospital for the unveiling of a monument designating the medical helicopter landing area the Archer Memorial Helipad.

James Archer of Wren, a pilot employed by Air Methods Corp., who had served the hospital for more than 17 years, was the only person aboard the medical airship when it crashed Jan. 5 in Tippah County.

Like family

After some of Archer's co-workers had read Psalm 23 and sung "Amazing Grace" - two of his favorite recitations - others spoke of the close connections between those who work in Emergency Services.

"We sit in a bubble together for hours on end, and we all live in the same small house," said flight nurse Teresa Wilbanks of the helicopter base near Green Street and Eason Boulevard. "You get to know their hopes and dreams.

"We're like family," she said. "All of these people, James knew them on an intimate basis."

Chief Pilot Dave Young, who introduced the Archer family, noted the late pilot's special delight in his own family.

"You've never known a prouder grandfather than James Archer," he said.

Angie Dillashaw, NMHS director of emergency services, noted the cooperation required between pilot, flight crew and ground crew to provide the best service for ill or injured patients.

"James was definitely a team player," she said.

Crews will pass the four-line granite monument each time they transfer a patient to or from a medical helicopter. It reads: "Archer Memorial Helipad/In memory of James Archer/1946-2005/May you now fly with God"

Flight service on duty

Archer was killed after the helicopter had been dispatched to a car wreck in Tippah County. After the craft experienced reportedly minor problems with a puncture of the chin bubble, the patient and flight crew were sent by ground ambulance to the hospital. Archer stayed with the helicopter and, after temporary repairs were made, lifted off to return to Tupelo and crashed soon thereafter.

NMMC was without its flight service for only a week before a replacement helicopter was delivered. The helicopter service provides emergency transportation within 60 miles of Tupelo and hospital transfers within 150 (including hospitals in Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham and Jackson, as well as the Mississippi Firefighters Memorial Burn Center in Greenville.

The NMMC flight service, which had never before had a crash, concluded 2004 as its busiest year ever, with 577 missions.

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 3/14/2005 8:00:00 AM, section A , page 1