Life Link III Announces Plans for New Air Medical Base in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

Bloomington, Minnesota (October 20, 2021) – Life Link III announced today that it plans to open a new base of operations in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota in spring 2022. This new base, which marks the company’s eleventh helicopter base location throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, will provide additional air medical resources with industry-leading clinical capabilities to support Life Link III’s consortium member-owners and surrounding communities.

The Detroit Lakes base will strengthen Life Link III’s extensive and reliable network and will provide services as a 24/7/365 operation. This base will be located at the Detroit Lakes airport and will feature a hangar, offices, and crew quarters. The establishment of this new base will bring sixteen new and unique career opportunities to this area.

Life Link III is the largest hospital-based non-profit air medical consortium in the United States. Today, ten health systems make up the Life Link III consortium, a unique model which focuses on collaboration across competing healthcare providers to advance access to critical care. Essentia Health has been a member of the Life Link III consortium since 2010 and proudly serves this region through its 14 hospitals, 72 clinics and other facilities and pharmacies across Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with Life Link III to expand access to emergency medical services to everyone in Detroit Lakes, Becker County and our surrounding communities,” said Tanner Goodrich, Essentia’s senior vice president of operations. “In emergency situations, timely access to care can be the difference in life and death. The commitment to access and quality by Essentia Health and Life Link III will improve health outcomes in the communities that we serve.”

“Life Link III has been a great care partner to Essentia Health throughout the years, from relocating a helicopter to the Detroit Lakes area to assisting in medical coverage for large-scale community events,” said Joe Newton, senior director of emergency medical services for Essentia. “We are excited to have them locating here full-time to provide rapid transportation and care for seriously injured or critically ill patients in need of time-sensitive treatment. These patients often had to wait for air medical resources from Fargo, Bemidji, Brainerd or Alexandria. Detroit Lakes is an ideal location to serve the needs of rural hospitals and EMS services in the area.”

“We are proud to support the evolving needs of Essentia Health, this region, and the critically ill and injured patients who depend on us every day”, said Josh Howell, Chief Executive Officer at Life Link III. “Together, Life Link III and Essentia, as well as our valued healthcare, public safety and EMS partners, will work collaboratively to ensure an unwavering commitment to quality, safety, and exceptional patient care.”

Life Link III helicopters and airplane are medically-configured and equipped to serve as flying intensive care units (ICUs). Advanced clinical capabilities and equipment featured on-board include point-of-care laboratory testing, point-of-care ultrasound, and LUCAS mechanical CPR. Whole blood is also carried on-board every flight.

More information regarding the base opening date and plans for a community celebration will be released in early 2022.


About Life Link III

Life Link III operates ten helicopter bases that include Alexandria, Blaine, Brainerd, Duluth, Hibbing, Rush City, and Willmar in Minnesota, and Marshfield, Rhinelander, and Rice Lake in Wisconsin. The company plans to open its eleventh helicopter base in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota in spring 2022. The company’s helicopter and airplane services provide on-scene emergency response and inter-facility transport for patients requiring critical care. Life Link III’s transportation services are accredited by CAMTS (Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transportation Systems), ensuring the highest standards of quality and safety are met. Life Link III is a non-profit consortium made up of the following member-owner organizations: Allina Health, CentraCare Health, Children’s Minnesota, Essentia Health, M Health Fairview, Regions Hospital/HealthPartners®, Hennepin Healthcare, Marshfield Clinic Health System, St. Luke’s, and HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital/St. Joseph’s. Learn more at


About Essentia Health

Supporting you with more health care resources.

Essentia Health is an integrated health system serving patients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.

Headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota, Essentia Health combines the strengths and talents of 14,100 employees, including more than 2,100 physicians and advanced practitioners, who serve our patients and communities through the mission of being called to make a healthy difference in people’s lives.

Essentia Health, which includes many Catholic facilities, is guided by the values of Quality, Hospitality, Respect, Joy, Justice, Stewardship, and Teamwork. The organization lives out its mission by having a patient-centered focus at 14 hospitals, 72 clinics, six long-term care facilities, three assisted living facilities, three independent living facilities, six ambulance services, 20 retail pharmacies, and one research institute.



Louie St. George III
Public relations/external communications manager, Essentia Health
(218) 260-6557

Katie Burkhart
Director of Marketing & Communications, Life Link III
(612) 638-4903


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