January 23rd, 2021

Fort Macleod farmer wouldn’t be here if not for STARS

By Mabell, Dave on January 17, 2020.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald


Two southern Albertans were very welcome guests at a stunning Lethbridge home on Thursday.

Clayton Orr and Kelly Lynn Waldron joined the crowd as STARS Air Ambulance personnel unveiled this year’s dream home in The Canyons.

Orr, who farms near Fort Macleod, stepped forward to explain how a STARS medical team repeatedly restarted his breathing during an emergency flight for cardiac surgery in Calgary.

He’d been out on his tractor when he was hit by a heart attack, he explained. Air ambulance personnel had to restore his breathing before lifting off, Orr said – and restore his vital signs several times during the flight.

“I’ve been shocked and compressed” so often, he said, “I glow in the night.”

But “I’m here today because of STARS.”

So was Waldron, who needed what’s reportedly the very first STARS flight from Lethbridge.

That service began 27 years ago, officials say – shortly before she was born prematurely and needed Calgary specialists’ attention.

In recognition, this year’s dream home in Lethbridge has been named the Kelly Lynn design. Val Lowen, co-owner of Van Arbor Homes, said the name was selected as part of the family-owned company’s ongoing support for the STARS cause, and the life-saving services provided to southern Albertans.

Lethbridge has become one of the helicopter-based operation’s most frequent source of calls, pointed out Jeff Morris, southern Alberta operations manager for STARS. Last year there were 61 emergency flights from Lethbridge – but more than 1,400 missions in various parts of the province.

And southern Albertans are among the emergency service’s strongest supporters, officials acknowledged.

“It’s great to see the support and that people care,” said Mayor Chris Spearman.

“It’s nice to win a prize, but much more important to save lives.”

The Van Arbor home is actually one of about 2,575 prizes in this year’s lottery. In addition to luxury homes in Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton, it offers two high-priced vehicles and eight “dream vacations” in destinations as different as Borneo and Nashville.

The lottery also features a $1-million early bird prize on tickets sold by Feb. 27 and a 50/50 draw, which paid out $2 million last year.

The Lethbridge prize home, at 104 Canyon Ridge Blvd. W. in The Canyons, is valued at $922,100. A 3,004-square-foot bungalow, it’s Japanese-inspired design includes a central open-air courtyard.

STARS Lottery tickets are scheduled to remain on sale until March 19, with the draw date set for April 2.

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