ON February 18, 1996, a man broke his leg during a tandem skydive landing off Great Keppel Island. 

For the first time in history, the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service fired up their engines and rushed to the man's aid. 

And they've been doing the same thing for countless others ever since. 

For the past 20 yeras, Capricornia residents have looked up at the sound of a helicopter overhead to see the signature blue and yellow RACQ Capricorn Helicopter on the way to save a life.

To celebrate 20 years of world-class aerial search and rescue with full aeromedical and counter disaster capabilities that now average one rescue per day, the service reflected on their first ever rescue and how things have changed since. 

An American man was the first patient on board the recue helicopter after breaking his leg off GKI. 

At first, the break went unnoticed as the patient was a paraplegic but when it was brought to attention, the rescue helicopter was tasked.

The man was airlifted to the Rockhampton Base Hospital and made a full recovery. 

Since then, a lot has changed. 

Flight times have reduced dramatically.

On board crew 20 years ago consisted of two members being a pilot and a paramedic/crewman; whereas now the helicopter on a task will include a pilot, air crewman, and paramedic and when required a rescue crewman and doctor. 

In the beginning, they had two pilots and nine volunteer paramedic/crewmen; to date they have four pilots, four air crewmen, two rescue and one engineer.

The yearly operational cost has grown from $700,000 to $7.1 million and yet, even with that increase, the community has continued to help them stay alive and grow to be bigger and better by bringing the service to more people in the region. 

From tossing them your loose change, to buying a sausage at their sausage sizzle, or purchasing a ticket to their events, in any little way you're helping keep the much needed service free and available to the people of CQ.