Dad vows to help emergency teams
The father of American tourist Kirsten Steinke has vowed to repay the kindness of Kiwis by "paying it forward" through his own American network.
Jim Steinke left New Zealand on a commercial Air New Zealand flight on Monday night while his daughter, Kirsten, and wife, Gerri, departed Hamilton Airport yesterday morning on an international air ambulance.
In a statement issued after his departure, Mr Steinke vowed to "continue to communicate [Kirsten's] miraculous journey to all" and to support Waikato emergency services teams who helped his daughter survive the horror crash that killed her husband, Kallan Stithem, on September 20.
"Equipment like the [Waikato Westpac Rescue] helicopter and first response teams do not have an infinite life," Mr Steinke said.
"Our network will commit to support this effort as a way to pay forward the life of our daughter."
Mr Steinke is president of Colorado strategic consulting firm KLS Associates. The firm focuses on the management and operation of securities organisations.
Mr Steinke's daughter is a marketing and communications co-ordinator for the University of Colorado Foundation, an independent, privately governed non-profit corporation whose mission is to support the university.
Ms Steinke, 28, arrived at Hamilton Airport just after 8am yesterday morning in a private ambulance, supported by her mother Gerri, and a specialist American medical team.
She was wheeled from the ambulance covered in a red blanket and was carefully loaded on to the waiting Lear jet.
Before the flight she remained inside the ambulance on the tarmac while final preparations were made by the American crew from Air Ambulance Specialists.
Mrs Steinke went into the Hamilton Airport terminal to pick up supplies from a bookstore with one of the medical team before the flight left - just ahead of the scheduled 9am departure time.
The flight was scheduled to arrive in Colorado about midday Tuesday (Wednesday 7am NZT).
Ms Steinke will be taken straight to a specialist rehabilitation unit to continue her recovery.