By Lethbridge Herald on June 2, 2020.
HALO Air Ambulance release:
Medicine Hat – HALO Air Ambulance today confirms an immediate extension of full medevac operations. In light of Health Minister Shandro’s instruction to Alberta Health Services to restart, and fast-track, the Provincial Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Review and with an overwhelming outpouring of community support, HALO has raised significant funds to help ensure the continuation of HALO Air Ambulance service.
As of June 1st, 2020, no financial support is forthcoming from the Government of Alberta. Based on significant community support HALO is forecasting they will be able to provide full medevac service through the end of the Provincial HEMS Review.
“The financial boost we received Friday, May 29 with the #FreeFryDay campaign organized by Western Tractor, McCain Foods, and J.E.B. Transport, the potential fundraisers on Facebook, the #HALOCHALLENGE in and around Medicine Hat, and the conversations we are having with rural municipalities and corporate sponsors has us in a position to extend our program,” said Paul Carolan, CEO, HALO Air Ambulance.
“We may not have the full six months of operating funds sitting in a bank account, but with the support we have received, we believe it is a realistic possibility. We can’t take our foot off the gas; we need to make sure we support these fundraisers with everything we have and make sure the momentum continues. We also can’t take the pressure off the Government of Alberta. The people of southern Alberta have spoken clearly, and definitively, they believe their government should at least do their part, and they are tired of feeling like second-class citizens because they live in rural Alberta,” said Carolan.
The southern Alberta community rallied behind HALO Air Ambulance following their announcement earlier in May that they may be required to scale-back, and ultimately cease operations, if no funding was forthcoming from the Government of Alberta or a significant fundraising campaign wasn’t successful. In less than two weeks, fundraising efforts across southern Alberta took flight. Two major Facebook auction pages went live, one with almost $200,000 dollars of items and services donated. Western Tractor, McCain Foods, and J.E.B. Transport launched a unique and creative fundraiser designed to support potato growers while simultaneously raising funds for HALO. Closer to Medicine Hat, a group of small businesses and individuals took up the #HALOCHALLENGE keeping the funding drive going well into June. “HALO is deeply rooted in our communities; it is one of our most cherished principals. The outpouring of community support has been nothing short of miraculous. We exist to help people when they need us most, when we announced we needed help, those same people rose to the challenge,” said Carolan.
HALO is the only life-saving helicopter medevac service that provides dedicated and faithful service to Southern Alberta, since 2007. HALO covers areas that other air ambulance providers aren’t able to cover, providing rapid response to areas that normally wouldn’t be reached within a reasonable timeframe. They rely almost exclusively on the generosity of community-minded individuals, responsible businesses, corporate partners, and both regional and municipal governments. “Considering the immeasurable gap, the loss of the HALO program would create, we are not asking for the unreasonable. $250,000 a month to operate a program that is deeply invested in our communities; a program that believes in making EVERY penny count; a program that saves lives. It’s a small price to pay when you consider the extremely limited financial investment of the provincial government to date,” said Carolan.
HALO is also proud to announce the launch of their new online tool, which will allow Albertans to communicate directly with their elected representative about their support for HALO and a permanent long-term funding solution for air ambulances.
To access the online tool, visit: https://www.haloairambulance.com/takeaction/