Native Air’s White Sands Area Team Wins Prestigious Award 


Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce recognizes Native Air with 2023 Healthcare Impact Award 

LAS CRUCES, NM, Sept. 12, 2023 – In a special ceremony for the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce 2023 Annual Healthcare Awards, Native Air’s White Sands Area team was proud to receive the Healthcare Impact Award on behalf of the entire program. The award recognizes a healthcare professional or organization that made a direct impact on an individual’s care. The awards dinner was held on Thursday, Sept. 7 at New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. 

“We are incredibly proud to be winners of the 2023 Healthcare Impact Award in this region,” said Lia Castagna-Munoz, account executive with Air Methods. “It meant so much to have our team of clinicians, pilots, mechanics, and regional leadership recognized before a room filled with many deserving nominees, community leaders, dignitaries and healthcare partners.” 

With bases in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Deming, and Silver City, along with sister bases in Carlsbad, and Roswell, Native Air serves the entire White Sands area and beyond with both helicopter and fixed wing air medical service. Native Air is part of Air Methods, the nation’s leading air medical service provider. 

“It is such an honor for Native Air to be recognized for the impact we have on our community,” said Brandi Lawhorn, flight nurse with the Native Air base in Las Cruces. “It’s an even greater honor to be able to serve the Las Cruces area and know that we make a meaningful difference not only in the lives of our patients but their loved ones as well. I feel fortunate that I work with the best people in Southern New Mexico.” 

The award is meaningful to the frontline crews because it is a reflection of their love and commitment to the communities they serve. 

“This team of nurses, medics, mechanics, and pilots all partner together and coordinate with EMS and hospitals to transport patients in critical need in some of the most difficult circumstances that you can imagine,” said Memorial Medical Center’s CEO John Harris as he presented the award during the ceremony. “They frequently put aside family, activities, and celebrations in their own personal lives to provide care at a moment’s notice, so they sacrifice their personal situations to take care of us. For this, I think we owe them a great debt of gratitude.” 

Native Air’s crew of industry-leading trauma clinicians transport patients in emergency medical situations including heart attacks, strokes, automobile accidents, and much more. They also transport patients between medical facilities for specialty care. They carry blood on board the aircraft and can administer it to patients in-flight when there is a risk of severe blood loss or hemorrhagic shock.  

Membership is not required with Air Methods, or with any air medical provider. The Federal “No Surprises Act” went into effect on January 1, 2022, and eliminated any need for memberships. Under this Act, patients are only responsible for their copay/coinsurance or deductible as outlined in their insurance policy, regardless of which company handles the transport. Air Methods is in network with most insurance companies and their patient advocates work with individuals to ensure affordability. In an emergency requiring air medical service, the first available carrier should transport the patient to the hospital; care should never be delayed by waiting for a specific company based on a membership.