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October 8, 2008

TFC Mickey Lippy Hero

Kevin E. Dayhoff

At 11 P.M., September 27, Maryland State Police Medevac helicopter Trooper 2 left its hangar at the Andrews Air Force Base to preserve the “Golden Hour” for two traffic crash victims in Waldorf.


Earlier that weekend, one of the victims, Ashley Younger, a freshman at Frostburg State University, had come home in order to attend her mother’s promotion ceremony at the Pentagon, according to The Washington Post.


Her Mom, Stephanie Younger, a single mother, was being promoted to sergeant first class.


On the day of the accident, Ashley Younger and her friend, Jordan Wells, had gone out for the evening and were returning home around 10:30 P.M. when their car “skidded on wet pavement, crossed a median and hit several trees and another car,” The Washington Post article said.


The Baltimore Sun reported that both “patients were awake and alert after the car crash in Waldorf, but the emergency medical crew chose to fly them to the Prince George's Hospital Center because, under the state's emergency response guidelines, the 12-inch dent in their vehicle predicted potentially hidden injuries.”


Sadly, before the Medevac unit was able to reach its destination, four of the five passengers onboard perished when the helicopter encountered bad weather and plummeted to the ground. Its crumpled remains were located around 2 A.M. Saturday the 28th in a wooded area in Walker Mill Regional Park, in Forestville.


Ms. Younger, the helicopter pilot Stephen J. Bunker, of Waldorf, volunteer medic Tonya Mallard, of Waldorf, and Trooper Mickey C. Lippy, of Westminster, the onboard paramedic, were all killed. Miraculously, Ms. Wells survived.


The Maryland State Police reports that “Trooper First Class Mickey Lippy was appointed to the Maryland State Police four years ago. He had been in the Aviation Command as a flight paramedic since April 2007. TFC Lippy was married. He had recently returned from family leave after the birth of his daughter, who is four months old.”


Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of all the victims of this tragedy.


Although I did not know TFC Lippy in my capacity as a former elected official and an administrative member of the Westminster Fire Department and Maryland Troopers Association Lodge # 20, I was familiar with the popularity and accomplishments of this fine young man.


The Carroll County Times noted that TFC “Lippy was appointed to the state police Westminster barrack four years ago and joined the Aviation Command in April 2007… He also had been a part-time paramedic and engineer at Gamber Fire Company since April 2004, and a volunteer with the Owings Mills fire company, according to Gamber spokesman Bruce Bouch, a deputy state fire marshal. Lippy’s wife, Christina, also works for Gamber as an EMT driver.”


I attended the viewing to pay my respects to the family and the public safety personnel, neighbors and friends who gathered at Gamber Fire Company.


In my advanced age, I attend many funerals. Often, as sad as it is, our Judeo-Christian tradition has taught us to celebrate the life of someone who has passed away. Often we understand that our older friends and loved ones have gone on to a better place.


My religious training was of little help last Thursday as I was overwhelmed with the sadness of knowing that TFC Lippy passed away tragically – way too young – while trying to save the lives of complete strangers. The friends and family he left behind were equally young and vulnerable.


Yes, it is in God’s hands, but I don’t understand.




Although it has not been publicized, our neighbors in the Gamber Fire Company insisted on bearing almost all the costs of the funeral for TFC Lippy.


Moreover, although most do not need a week set aside to remind us of the invaluable service our volunteer fire companies provide, this week is National Fire Prevention Week.


The Gamber Fire Company honored their fallen comrade out of the goodness of their hearts and expects nothing in return. That’s the way we do things in the public safety community.


However, they still have to keep the lights on, pay for fuel, and keep the equipment maintained at a time when budgets are tight and money is hard to find.


If you can find it in your heart, write a check to the Gamber Volunteer Fire Company Treasurer, 3838 Niner Road, Finksburg, MD 21048.


Or, if you’d rather, in consideration of National Fire Prevention Week, take a moment and write your local volunteer fire department a check.


The next life they save – or the property they protect – might be yours or that of a loved one or neighbor.


Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster: E-mail him at:


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