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HALO to fly higher with donation from Lions

Posted on November 2, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Anna Smith

A joint effort from the various service clubs that cover the southeastern corner has gotten the local air ambulance HALO that much closer to their current goal taking flight.

Recently, HALO Air Ambulance has been fundraising in order to make themselves a new dolly; longtime fans of the beloved guardian angel for the southeast corner would recall that the helicopter itself takes off from land onto a small dolly.

HALO first pitched the idea to one of the smaller clubs, praised HALO Executive Director Paul Carolan.

“A little while ago, we presented a fundraising goal to the local Medicine Hat Lions’ Club,” said Carolan. “We wanted to get a new dolly for the helicopter.”

For those unfamiliar, said Carolan, a dolly is used by the helicopter to be wheeled out of and into the hanger where it’s kept, to allow for safer takeoff. However, their current dolly is slightly undersized, enough so that they can’t safely put a ladder onto it for maintenance on the helicopter.

“We wanted to design a new one. And we’ve kind of been working through that process. And so we explained that to the Lions, and they’ve always been big HALO supporters; those service clubs are incredible, and they do so much amazing work in our communities,” said Carolan.

While HALO expected a donation from the club they spoke to, and they did receive one, what happened next was much more. The issue was taken to the district level, where all of the nearby regional Lions’ clubs were encouraged to chip in for a larger donation. What resulted was a roughly $25,000 dollar donation.

Donors included the Redcliff Lions Club, the Bow Island Lions Club, the Taber Lions Club, the Lions Club of Medicine Hat, and the Medicine Hat CommunityView Lions Club.

“It just goes to show you what that force multiplier can do,” said Carolan, who added that they’re going to make sure to make it clear who made this newer, safer dolly possible.

“Part of the plan and the proposal to the Lions was that when we’re actually going to have this dolly made, it’s actually going to be yellow, which is not a HALO colour, but it is Lions colour,” said Carolan. “And so then the Lions logo will be on all four corners, and then the individual clubs that contributed will be in there with the text. We’ll make sure we get lots of recognition for them as well.”

HALO is still waiting on an exact price point for the project, but with the Lions’ help, they expect they’re extremely close to their goal, if not already having achieved it, and for that, Carolan expressed their deepest gratitude.

“Whenever we can have community support on those things,” said Carolan, “it just means that more of our other donations go directly towards running the helicopter. So it really helps us a lot.”

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