CHICKASAW COUNTY and TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – The Arkansas crash is being felt in North Mississippi and Northwest Alabama because one of the victims is a long-time member of the medical and emergency responder communities in the region.
Jim Spruiell of Sulligent, Alabama, was one of the three flight crew members killed Sunday night.
Spruiell was the chief flight nurse for the North Mississippi Medical Center CareFlight services.
He started his career with NMMC in 1992 as a paramedic in Baldwyn, before he shift into the the aeromedical section in 1994, and became a flight nurse in 2001.
He was well-known across the area for his professionalism in emergencies and educating other first responders.
“His name just comes to the top of the list, I mean, everybody knew Jim and he’s just going to be missed,” says Chickasaw County Sheriff James Meyers.
Jim Spruiell had been with the Care Flight Program for over twenty years.
People who knew and worked with the chief flight nurse says his job was his calling.
“He was a people person and he just took that to heart and that was his calling and I mean, he was very passionate at what he did and he wanted everybody to be the best trained they could be and he just had that knack.”
Jim Spruiell wasn’t just known as being a good flight nurse, but also a good trainer.
He was just in Chickasaw County a couple of weeks ago, teaching a helicopter landing zone class to firefighters.
Meyers has been working with Jim for a number of years and says he gave 100% no matter if he was in the sky, or on the ground.
“Whether he was the one actually working the scene as a flight nurse, or a paramedic, and then on the teaching side of it, when he was teaching classes, whether it be EMR classes, or any type of classes, along with the medical field, or especially with the helicopter.”
Chickasaw County is just one of the many places the name Jim stood out.
“He’s nationwide. He also teaches classes for the trauma nursing course and just everywhere you go, when you say you’re from North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, they knew Jim Spruiell,” says CareFlight Administrative Director Dennis Hebner.
Hebner says everyone is very saddened over the tragic loss.
He says Jim’s family always brought a smile to his face and he loved and respected everyone he worked with, to flight crews, to EMRs.
“When I try to think of all of the words that have been shared with me today, I wouldn’t have enough time to share them with you, because he was just that genuine, caring person.”
Spruiell was 61-years old and leaves behind a wife and four children.