By Justin Seward
HALO’s BK-117 medievac helicopter landed at King’s Lake Hutterite Colony near Skiff for a visit on Jan. 29.
While it was a chance for a dozen local colonies to gather and see HALO’s newest addition, it was the first opportunity for many colony members to learn about a program that has not been heard about.
King’s Lake Hutterite Colony manager John Waldner said the colony’s fire department is one of very few colonies who know the importance of a helicopter having the ability to fly to the area.
“Now that HALO can fly here, pick a person up pretty much anywhere in the county and go straight to Calgary, that is so important,” said Waldner.
“I’ve been in a situation where I was taken in a ground ambulance to Calgary and even that is so important. To go with a chopper and get there much quicker , it’s at top most importance.”
“But until you talk to the people that run it, the pilot (and) paramedics that are on it, you really don’t know all there is know. King’s Lake’s role was to get the people out here, so they can not just come for King’s Lake Colony (and) come for other people and raise enough money to make it worth their while.”
It was about three years ago that half of the colony members did not know that HALO existed because the talk was always about STARS, he added.
Kim Simpson is the executive director with HALO and says it was vital that locals know who HALO is in the area and that service is immediate for people in need.
“We were at an event in Lethbridge a couple of weeks ago and we were distressed to learn a lot of colonies didn’t know HALO existed and as a result we decided to do an outreach program,” said Simpson.
“We wanted to tell people who we are, what we’re capable of and the fact that we can provide service to them.”
“Just the sense of support we’ve had here today, it’s been amazing. People want to step up and help.”
The colony also handed over a cheque for $5,000 to HALO that was raised on their own.
In 2018, the colony doled out $55,000 in donations to various charities and HALO will be added to list annually.