HALO air ambulance confirmed on Tuesday an immediate extension of its full medevac operations.
“In light of Health Minister Shandro’s instruction to Alberta Health Services to restart, and fast-track the provincial Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) review and with an overwhelming outpouring of community support, HALO has raised significant funds to help ensure the continuation of HALO Air Ambulance service,” said the press release.
It was due in large part to the recent community support that made going back to the full extension of operations possible.
“As of June 1st, no financial support is forthcoming from the Government of Alberta,” said Carolan.
“Based on significant community support HALO is forecasting they will be able to provide full medevac service through the end of the provincial HEMS Review. The financial boost we received Friday, May 29th, 2020 with the #FreeFryDay campaign organized by Western Tractor, McCain Foods, and J.E.B. Transport, the potential fundraisers on Facebook, the #HALOCHALLENGE in and around Medicine Hat, and the conversations we are having with rural municipalities and corporate sponsors has us in a position to extend our program.”
Carolan says while there may not be six months of funding in their bank account, that with the support, HALO felt it was realistically possible.
However, he cautioned the fight is not over yet.
“We can’t take our foot off the gas; we need to make sure we support these fundraisers with everything we have and make sure the momentum continues,” he said.
“We also can’t take the pressure off the Government of Alberta. The people of southern Alberta have spoken clearly, and definitively, they believe their government should at least do their part, and they are tired of feeling like second-class citizens because they live in rural Alberta.”
The southern Alberta community rallied around HALO after the air ambulance announced in early May that they may have had to scale back to the single-engine helicopter on June 1 and potentially cease operations by July 1 if no funding was to come from the provincial government.
“In less than two weeks, fundraising efforts across southern Alberta took flight. Two major Facebook auction pages went live, one with almost $200,000 dollars of items and services donated. Western Tractor, McCain Foods, and J.E.B. Transport launched a unique and creative fundraiser designed to support potato growers while simultaneously raising funds for HALO,” said HALO
A group of Medicine Hat small businesses took up the #HALOCHALLENGE and were able to keep the funds going through June.
“HALO is deeply rooted in our communities; it is one of our most cherished principals. The outpouring of community support has been nothing short of miraculous. We exist to help people when they need us most, when we announced we needed help, those same people rose to the challenge,” said Carolan.