CARSTAIRS - Donating to the STARS Fund a Flight program was an easy choice for Graham and Bonnie Steckly of Family Auto Sales. The Stecklys are very appreciative of the work that STARS does, particularly for those in rural areas.
"This donation is a small way to contribute to a service that saves lives in the community," said Graham. "I don't think you could talk to anyone locally who hasn't had someone who was helped by STARS through a tragedy or accident. It's a vital part of our rural community."
The pair were honoured on Jan. 22 with a plaque from STARS, which was presented by Tamara Smith, the organization's senior development officer, major gifts.
"They sponsored a mission in Carstairs in December," said Smith. "It was a motor vehicle accident on December 13. Today, I was presenting them with a Fund a Flight plaque."
Smith said that the Fund a Flight program allows individuals and businesses to sponsor a STARS mission.
"A mission is when we go to a hospital for an inter-facility patient transfer, or attend a call or any kind of emergency that we have to respond to," she said.
STARS currently has 11 helicopters which they are looking at replacing due to their age, said Smith.
"Here in Alberta we fly about five missions a day," she said. "STARS is a lifeline for many, particularly for those in the rural area who don't have access to timely medical care that they necessarily will need. We're an air medical transport so we can get patients where they need to go a lot faster than by ambulance."
Smith said they greatly appreciate any support from businesses as government funding makes up only 20 per cent of STARS's budget in Alberta.
"We really rely on communities and individuals to keep us in the sky," she said. "Businesses like Family Auto Sales mean a lot to us and we just want to say thank you."