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On September 16, 2016, I will be dropped off on an island somewhere in Manitoba with the challenge to raise $50,000 for STARS.

Because I live, work, travel and play in the rural communities of Manitoba I have decided to accept this challenge.

As you know, STARS is a charitable organization that cares for and transports critically ill injured patients throughout our province and beyond.

But to keep these services going strong they need your support.

And that’s why I have accepted this challenge.

Along with a group of brave community leaders from various parts of Manitoba, will be flown by STARS helicopter out into the wilderness. I will have nothing but my sense of adventure, sense of humor and a cell phone to reach out to you my friends and family.

I will be rescued only once I reach my goal of $50,000.

And only after I have accomplished this will I be returned to civilization.

So will you please donate today and help me reach my goal?

STARS is a great cause that has saved the lives of so many.  Every minute counts in an emergency event, if I am able to raise enough to contribute to saving one life I will consider this challenge a success.

Please don’t wait until September 16th to give – give now and help me reach our goals faster!

BIO

After a few days of reflection and discussing the proposal with those around me, the idea of dedicating myself to this event began to grow on me. Maybe the odds of me being able to raise as much money as my counterparts aren`t in my favour, but that shouldn’t stop me from trying. If nothing else, I can certainly play a big role in creating awareness and promoting the amazing service offered by STARS and that in itself has got to be worth something. Anything is better than nothing.

When STARS first asked me to be one of their Island Rescue personalities, I was very unsure about how I`d fit into the campaign.  I thought to myself, why do they want me? I’m just a small town bison farmer, small town Fire Chief, a family man. The task comes with very aggressive fundraising goals and having been self-employed in the farming industry my entire adult life I have no connections to large corporate sponsors. There must be people out there better equipped, with stronger financial ties that could effectively raise more donations than me.

As first responders we call it the Golden Hour. The crucial first hour after a traumatic incident, when treatment by specially trained emergency personnel is imminent. This golden hour is normally attainable in urban areas but proves much more difficult in a rural setting. One of the unfortunate realities we face in some of our smaller rural hospitals is emergency room closures. Whether from doctor shortages or lack of funding,  the services just aren’t there. STARS is a key player in helping us bridge the gap created by distance. An important and necessary tool in providing advanced emergency care, otherwise not as readily available, to those in need.

I’ve been a volunteer Firefighter in La Broquerie for 37 years, Fire Chief for the last 11. I’ve seen a lot of trauma on our roads, in our fields, in our homes over the years. I often reflect on some of the past tragic incidents and can’t help but think that if STARS would have been available, how many of those lives could have been saved. They`ve been flying now for 30 years in Alberta, 4 in Saskatchewan and now 4, for us here in Manitoba. There is no greater feeling as a Fire Chief in charge of an accident scene, than seeing that red helicopter land as you’re about to pull a victim out of a mangled car. At that point you know that you`ve done your best to make sure that victim receives the BEST.

I`m also the Eastman Mutual Aid district fire coordinator, representing 17 fire halls in southeastern Manitoba. We work closely with the office of the Fire Commissioner developing training programs for approximately 260 rural volunteer firefighters. We also plan multi-department co-operation should assistance be required on a call. Combined, we need a voice to continually reiterate the importance of the STARS program in the areas we service. The more I thought about it, the more I knew, this was something I had to do.

I want to be a voice for the agricultural industry. I`ve been a farmer my entire life, previously dairy now with my bison ranch. We don`t often think of it but farming truly is a dangerous job. We handle large animals, large equipment, often working in remote areas, often alone. Farming is a way of life, a necessity for continued life. Farmers are essential to us all, providing food for the population, supporting our economy in several different ways. Most of us have heard of tragic farming accidents, all of us can agree that should any future accidents occur we want the best care possible for our dedicated farmers.

I am a family man. Married 37 years, father of 5, grandfather of 9. In the event of an unfortunate accident, I would without a doubt want the best, most highly trained professionals, caring for my loved ones. I want to do my part to make sure STARS is available now and in the future for all generations.

Every single person is deserving of the best level of emergency care in their time of need. On the scene, it is a team effort between ground ambulance paramedics, firefighters, hospital staff, 911 dispatchers, law enforcement  and STARS that will ensure the highest level of care is achieved. But behind the scenes, we need the public`s support and generous donations to make sure that our red angel in the sky continues to fly. Let`s all work together for the greater good.

 

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