A Final Farewell to Nikki Kielar

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

They came from areas such as Bowling Greene, Rockhill, and Wintergreene. Rescue workers, all paying tribute to 29 year old Nikki Kielar.

"I'm going to miss her friendship, I'm going to miss her advice about life, just hanging out with her," said Captain. Landon Harris of the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad.

The memorial service was held Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, honoring flight paramedic Kielar and pilot Joe Shaefer. The two died the night of Jan. 10, when their Life Evac chopper crashed into the Potomac River.

Kielar's death hit home in Charlottesville. She was a volunteer at the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad for about nine years. Her memory so important, CARS formed a caravan and headed to Fredericksburg.

"We have 175 people, but they're all very close," said Dayton Haugh, CARS chief. "They live together, work together, play together, and study together, compete together. And it's very important for all of us to come together."

Flowers, cards, and pictures lined the podium where Kielar's father spoke about his daughter's energy and drive. A family spokeswoman said that through Kielar's death, her family had learned so much more about the person she was.

"We're very proud of Nicole and her accomplishments, but through the overwhelming outpour of sympathy and support, we've come to see just how very special she was to all," said spokesperson Cathy Flaherty.

In a final tribute, helicopters flew by overhead, a fitting end to two who gave their lives to save others in the sky.

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