Helicopter Pilot Led Legendary Life, Made Strong Connections

I’ve often heard the old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know,” and I have always believed it because the human connection can always take you further in life than a framed piece of paper proclaiming you attended a given educational institution.

Life is all about making and maintaining connections.

I try to think about with whom I’ve bonded over the years, and even as the numbers and people change, there is always a core group that will forever be the same.

It is with these people, both family and friends, that I know I am safe and have support whenever I need it.

I am happy with my core group, and I anticipate the core group will grow with my age while never getting so big that it loses the closeness and vitality that I adore.

I love meeting new people and making new connections, even though I wouldn’t trade my main circle of family and friends for anything.

However, some times I do come across people who I wish I had known better or under different circumstances, maybe even to the point of having that person within my circle.

On March 8 I was introduced to such a person, but sadly I learned about him after he tragically crashed his helicopter in a muddy field outside of Moundridge.

Of course, I’m referring to 66-year-old Roger Hershner, of Sequim, Wa.

Hershner seemed to have led an extraordinary life, which among other exploits involved breaking a political prisoner out of a Mexican jail and bringing him home.

Hearing such anecdotes made me immediately want to sit down and speak with Hershner, but that clearly can’t happen now.

I do feel I have meet Hershner on a different level, though.

See, I posted my coverage of the crash here on this blog, and within hours of my posting it, people who knew and loved Hershner began posting comments.

As of this update, the blog post had accumulated 30 comments sharing stories about Hershner.

It was an incredible outpouring from both family and friends who will deeply miss the helicopter pilot they all held so dearly.

When I first realized what was happening, I was moved beyond words.

I had posted the story to my blog because it was a relatively large news event that I not only covered, but covered better than competing media outlets.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed people would use my blog as a place to connect and console one another in such a time of loss and grief.

I couldn’t feel more honored, and I am thankful they all chose to share their memories and feelings in those comments because it allowed me to feel just a little connected to Hershner himself.

The Internet is a powerful tool for creating and maintaining those human connections that are so very important in our world.

Even as the economy continues to struggle, and the large, metro newspaper of the newspaper industry struggle with ways to keep readers connected and engaged in the face of dropped revenues and higher costs, seeing so many people react to a journalist’s story reassures me about not only the world of journalism and its uncertain future regarding either print or online products, but it also concretes my notion that no matter what we as a people will preserve because no matter how dark the times are, we always will have each other and all the memories that accompany the connections we’ve made with one another.

Local EMS, Fire Performs Exceptionally In Face Of Crash

On March 8 a helicopter piloted by Roger Hershner, 66 of Sequim, Wa., crashed in a muddy field outside of Moundridge.

Hershner did not survive. There were no other passengers on-board.
Moundridge Fire and EMS crews were the first to respond to the disastrous crash that left debris scattered across the field.

They handled the situation quickly, effectively and professionally.

Our local emergency crews should be commended for their response. Not all communities are so lucky to have such competent, knowledgeable personnel looking out for their safety and well-being.

I’m not the only one who thinks so highly of these crews.

As the first media outlet on scene, I saw it all in action, and I reported it all online at this blog, my Twitter page and The Ledger Online. A lot of that coverage came from my phone as I reported from the scene.

I can proudly say The Ledger crushed the other media outlets in coverage as I got information out in more depth and detail before any daily newspaper, radio or TV station could. The Ledger broke the news and reigned supreme in coverage, and that is all thanks to tenacity in reporting and the online world of my blog, Web sites and Twitter.

Everyone involved, even the Kansas Highway Patrol, the McPherson County Sheriff’s Department and the locals who pitched in with use of 4-wheelers and ATVs should be commended for their work in dealing with the accident.

I even give kudos to the KHP officer who threatened to arrest me if I didn’t get out of the field, away from the crash site and back to the road.

He was doing his job even as I was doing mine.

So if you see one of Moundridge’s fire or EMS crew members around town, let them know how much they are appreciated.

They go great work for this community, and they deserve every bit of the attention given.

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About toddvogts 839 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at twitter.com/toddvogts or via his website at www.toddvogts.com.


  1. Roger was my friend……….and I miss him. He flew that way to say hi to his mom. He was an amazing guy and a good friend.

    Sequim, WA.

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