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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Derwent Fire Department Donates

Back row from left, William Burgess (Junior Firefighter, James Burgess (Junior firefighter), Sheldon Mailhot (Junior Firefighter), Greg Lychak (firefighter), Darren Yaceyko (firefighter), Carter Bielech (firefighter), Don Gulayec (Two hills County Reeve and Firefighter), and Don Logan (firefighter/Chaplain). Front row from left, Kevin Onysyk (Lieutenant), Rick Kwasnycia (Lieutenant), Matt Jaremco (Chief), Shannon Paquette and Michael Christian from STARS, Ed Mailhot (Deputy Chief), and Ezra Noster (Captain). Photo submitted

This past May the Derwent Fire Department planted 21 acres of wheat for its 2nd annual STARS Air Ambulance fundraiser, and their goal was to beat their previous year’s total of $17,500 and they did it by $2,500.

“Thirteen thousand seven hundred came from the crop sale, and the rest was from donations totaling $20,000,” said Deputy Chief for the Derwent Fire Department Ed Mailhot.

Mailhot said that they chose STARS because a large portion of the cost to operate the STARS air ambulance service comes from donations.

“Only part of their operations is funded by the government,” said Mailhot.

According to Mailhot, there are six STARS bases across the prairies (Edmonton, Calgary, Grand Prairie, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg.

“It costs approximately $10 million to operate each base, and each flight costs an average of $6,500. In 2021/22 STARS flew 3,515 flights and they have flown over 50,000 flights since 1985,” explained Mailhot.

In a former article, Mailhot explained that STARS is their go-to when it comes to remote access or when you need to get to the hospital quickly.

“STARS flies to our area quite regularly, and anything that we can do to help keep them in the sky is worth doing. When someone is in an accident or situation that requires STARS to be dispatched it is usually the worst day of their life,” explained Mailhot.

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