Scott Hyslop - Flight Paramedic




More than 300 friends, family and co-workers gathered in a windy meadow Tuesday to mourn Scott David Hyslop, a Durango paramedic who died in a helicopter crash Thursday.

They told amusing stories of Hyslop's busy life and described his love for his family, job and life.

"His enthusiastic spirit, love of life and dedication to helping others is an inspiration to us all," said Roger Ceilley, Hyslop's father-in-law.

Pictures of Hyslop lined the entrance of the tent used for the service. Many featured him with his wife, Elizabeth, and two dogs; others showed him skiing, mountain and ice climbing, sailing or dozing on a couch. One photograph showed him grinning while carrying the Olympic torch before the 2002 Salt Lake City games.

Several of Hyslop's friends and family members noted his dedication to the pursuit of happiness.

"His ability to fit as much as possible into one day was nothing short of amazing," said Leo Lloyd, a co-worker from Bayfield. "Scott chose to be happy."

Skeleton crews staffed Durango-area fire stations while dozens of firefighters flocked to the service. Many wore black mourning bands over their badges.

A shiny Ladder One decked with American and Colorado flags led the way to the service. Firefighters presented Hyslop's widow with his helmet. His bright-red flight suit rested on a table.

"I think it's as close to losing a family member as you'll ever lose," Durango Fire & Rescue Authority Chief Mike Dunaway said. "You go in places other people won't go. You go in there together, and that's your brother beside you. To lose those people is hard. It pulls at the heart strings."

Fire authority spokesman Dave Abercrombie said Hyslop's death forcefully reminded local emergency workers of the risks their jobs entail. "This brings it back to the forefront," Abercrombie said. "It forces you to evaluate the risk and your own mortality and so forth."

Dunaway agreed. "That's not supposed to happen to us. We're supposed to help others when it happens to them, and that's the hardest part."

Hyslop moved to Durango a few years ago and took a job as a paramedic with the Durango fire authority.

"The world has lost one of the most caring and honest people," said Larry Vaughn, an engineer with the fire authority. "The man would do anything for anybody and always with one of the most wonderful smiles I've ever seen."

Hyslop became a father five months ago with the adoption of Dylan, his son. He especially enjoyed reading Sports Illustrated to him, a friend said.

Mourners recounted his fun-loving attitude. "Scott was never happier than in the past few years," said his brother, Rob Hyslop.

His brother-in-law, Mike Ceilley, remembered how he and Hyslop biked down a Hawaiian mountain only to have Hyslop insist on biking uphill to a winery. "He didn't like coasting," Ceilley said. "He wanted to pedal."

To close the service, a man played "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes.

A firefighter rang a fire bell nine times to mark Hyslop's passing: three for an emergency call, three for the response, three for the return to the station.

- Chuck Slothower , Durango Herald, July 6, 2005