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Feb. 10, 1969 – April 27, 2015
Austin, Texas Age 46

Kristin Elizabeth McLain loved life, adventure and serving others. She passed away April 27, 2015, during a helicopter rescue mission in Austin while pursuing her passion and sharing her gifts. She is survived by Winston Merrill; parents, Betty and Jerry McLain; sister, Stacey Dyer; nephew, Hunter; niece, Makalynne; bother-in-law, Mike Dyer; aunt Swanee Ballman; uncle, Ronald Ballman; uncle, Don McLain; aunt, Judy McLain and numerous cousins.

Kristin was born in Colorado Springs Feb. 10, 1969, and grew up at a boy’s camp, Sanborn Western Camps at Florissant, Colo., where she developed her love of horses. Those who experienced Kristin’s grit and determination could attribute much of that to the hardy atmosphere in which she was raised. She attended school at Woodland Park K-12, graduated in 1987 and played varsity basketball throughout her high school career.

While attending Colorado State University, Kristin received a degree in Equine Science and pursued her passion for treating and training horses. She graduated in 1992 after taking a year during college to intern at Meadow Wood Farm in Washington State, hauling and training horses around the country.

Upon graduation, Kristin continued to work on horse farms until she went back to school at the University of Northern Colorado and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In 2001 she worked in the Emergency Room at Denver Health Medical Center, which initiated a desire to pursue a career as a rescue flight nurse. She then worked at Flight for Life of Colorado in Denver and Summit County for a year and a half at which time she met Winston Merrill. Kristin and Winston were the perfect match as they both shared a love for the outdoors, lake, water sports, good food and good friends.

Kristin left Colorado for Texas in October 2008 to pursue the challenge of working for STAR Flight . She wasted no time contributing to the program first as a Helicopter Rescue Specialist and then as a Crew Chief. Kristin influenced every aspect of the STAR Flight  program. She played an instrumental role in developing and training the St. David’s and Seton hospital specialty teams. Kristin managed the STAR Flight  new hire process from start to finish and often served as trainer for new crew members. Kristin also took on many of the less glamorous but very important projects, such as crew immunizations, monitoring crew certifications, scheduling the many classes required for crew members, and coordinating clinical rotations within the hospital department. She approached each project with the same dedication and care as she did when caring for patients. No project was too big or too small for her.

Kristin was an athlete at heart and very driven. Whatever she set her mind to, she accomplished. In addition to always continuing her education and professional opportunities, Kristin was also dedicated to pursuing athletic endeavors that required mental and physical perseverance. She had completed numerous marathons, an Ironman triathlon and loved endurance paddleboard events. Kristin’s stamina in fitness and athletics was contagious, as she shared that love and drive by continually motivating friends and family.

Kristin had a grace and passion about her for helping, serving and giving to others. That, combined with her love of the outdoors and athletic lifestyle, led to her commitment to the Flatwater Foundation. Annually, Kristin would provide EMT support as well as paddle 21 miles dam to dam on Lake Austin to help raise awareness and funds for wellness and counseling services for individuals and their families battling cancer.

Those who knew and loved Kristin would tell you that more than anything she had discipline and persistence combined with a caring, loving heart. Whatever Kristin put her mind to, she accomplished. Her tenacity was inspiring, but the heart that created it, tender and generous.

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Charles Brotherton
County Executive

Chuck Spangler
Program Director

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