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Province needs to step up to plate for HALO

Posted on August 2, 2016 by Commentator/Courier

By Commentator/Courier

It is often said that southeast Alberta is the forgotten corner of the province, and one need not look any further than to how the provincial government is dragging its heels on providing support for the HALO rescue helicopter to see there is some truth to that statement. Since 2007, HALO has been providing rescue and med-evac missions throughout the region, as well as into southwest Saskatchewan. Sure, Alberta Health Services pays for the paramedics, for which the HALO organization is appreciative, and sure they get paid a small stipend for each call for which they are sent. But, they are the only rescue helicopter organization in the province to not receive government funding for their operation. Does that mean to the province people’s lives here are of less value than those farther north? From March to July, HALO has made 15 trips and has been on standby for 24 additional calls. As long as the need for their service is there, the need for financial support to HALO will be there as well. HALO relies heavily on individual and corporate donations, as well as fundraising in order to keep providing it’s invaluable service to the people of southeast Alberta. And not just the people of southeast Alberta, but anybody traveling through who gets involved in a motor vehicle collision and needs to immediately be transported to hospital as quickly as possible, or gets lost or hurt on a hiking, boating or camping excursion— at no cost to the patient, by the way. HALO and its supporters have worked tirelessly since 2007 trying to secure some kind of financial support from the Alberta government, to no avail; thus far. But, they keep on fighting the fight, hoping that the powers-that-be in Edmonton will finally realize that HALO is a vital resource for southern Alberta. While HALO and municipalities continue to work to garner that funding, perhaps we as citizens can do our part as well, not just in monetary donations, but in calling Sarah Hoffman, Alberta Health Minister to let her know just how valuable of a service HALO truly is. And, if you have had a personal account that can be related, let her know that too. You can contact Hoffman at the Legislature office in Edmonton at 780-427-3665. When calling long distance, dial 310-0000, then the area code and phone number to avoid long distance charges. You may also fax Hoffman at 780-415-0961.

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