It was an emotional celebration of community support for the Alberta Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS), as the non-profit organization celebrated 25 years of care in the air on Saturday, October 2, 2010.
A new â€œThank Youâ€ logo was unveiled on the organizationâ€™s Eurocopter BK117 helicopters in front of event attendees and dozens of former patients, including Kelly Hulstein, the first patient flown by STARS as a premature baby on December 1, 1985.
â€œThis event and logo recognize the tremendous contributions the community has made to STARS over 25 years,â€ said Dr. Greg Powell, STARS President and CEO. â€œWe have flown nearly 20,000 missions since 1985, and every flight has been made possible thanks to the generosity of our donors and support from community partners.â€
Unveiling events took place at STARS bases in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, with STARS crew members celebrating alongside STARS donors, volunteers, and community partners. Government guests, representatives from Alberta Health Services, and representatives from other emergency services were also in attendance. STARS third and newest base, located in Grande Prairie, Alberta, will host a similar event in mid-October.
â€œSTARS is a bright point of excellence in health care,â€ said Mr. Ken Hughes, Board Chair, Alberta Health Services. â€œThe organizationâ€™s success is a testament to how the spirit of generosity, and community engagement, can drive innovation and leadership in emergency medical services.â€
STARS relies on community support with approximately 75 per cent of STARS mission funding coming from individual and corporate donations, and community support.
The rotary air ambulance program, initially named Lions Air Ambulance Service, was established in 1985 as a result of medical community concerns that Alberta had a 50 per cent higher death rate due to trauma when compared to other leading Canadian trauma centres. STARS began as the first non-government, charitable non-profit, physician driven helicopter emergency medical service in Canada.
Today, STARS is a recognized leader in critical patient care, rapid transportation, and emergency medical training and education. STARS responds with five helicopters, including two located in Edmonton, two in Calgary and one in Grande Prairie. STARS serves 94 per cent of Albertaâ€™s population 24 hours-a-day, flew 1,368 missions in 2009 and has flown 19,940 since 1985.
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