By Jensen, Randy on May 16, 2020.
LETHBRIDGE HERALD – MEDICINE HAT
With the COVID-19 pandemic decimating its ability to fundraise, HALO Air Ambulance is on life support, says Paul Carolan, HALO Air Ambulance CEO.
Late last week members of the HALO board of directors held an emergency meeting to discuss the financial forecast of the program. Following a record-setting fund development year in 2019, the arrival of the pandemic had an immediate impact on recent fundraising.
Other air ambulance programs have benefitted from years of Government of Alberta support, allowing them to build financial reserves that can be drawn upon during these extraordinary times, it was noted in a HALO news release. HALO has no such reserves.
On May 8, HALO contacted Premier Jason Kenney’s office to make it clear that without an immediate Government of Alberta investment:
– HALO will be forced to scale back operations to a single-engine helicopter effective June 1;
– HALO will provide limited medevac operations with the single-engine helicopter for a period of 30 days;
– All HALO medevac operations will cease July 1; and
– A public relations campaign attempting to save the HALO program will be immediately undertaken. This campaign will highlight the successes of the program, the dedicated people who have volunteered tirelessly to keep it in service, and the far-reaching and unwavering local community support.
As of the release, no acknowledgement has been received from the premier’s office.
HALO has provided service to southern Alberta since 2007, relying almost exclusively on the generosity of community-minded individuals, responsible businesses and corporate partners, and regional and municipal governments.
“Considering the gap the loss of the HALO program would create, HALO is asking for $250,000 a month to operate a program that is deeply invested in local communities; a program that believes in making every penny count; a program that will continue to make a difference,” says Carolan. “A small price to pay when you consider the extremely limited financial investment of the provincial government to date and the fact that we save lives.”
For more information on HALO Air Ambulance visit http://www.haloairambulance.com.