By Tim Kalinowski
The sounds of motorcycle engines roaring filled Irvine’s streets on Saturday as the Irvine Hotel hosted the second annual Fuel Booster Poker Run to support HALO. About 60 big hearted bikers from all over southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan took part in run itself and brought their wallets to the dinner and auction afterward to raise much needed funds to support local helicopter emergency rescue. The event featured entertainment, some fierce bidding action during the auction and a flyover by HALO itself to show its gratitude for the wonderful community support.
Stuart Riley, executive director of HALO, took part in the Poker Run and was on hand to help out with the auction in Irvine. Riley said HALO has responded to more than 220 emergency calls since its inception eight years ago. He was thankful for the grassroots support HALO has received from the organizers of the Fuel Booster Poker Run.
“Any time we get the community involved in fundraising it’s always important,” said Riley. “It’s just impressive because these guys here have gone out and put this together on their own initiative. It’s fantastic to see community involvement and it means so much to HALO.”
Blair Carriere has led the charge in organizing the Fuel Booster Poker Run the last two years. He said his reasons for doing so were simple: HALO saves lives.
“HALO is our angel in the sky,” stated Carriere with conviction. “We’ve had a few close friends who have wiped out on their bikes and HALO has come to make sure they get the help they need. They don’t get as much recognition as they should. I’ve never needed them and I pray I never do. But I feel good knowing I can help other people that may need them by putting on this event.”