HALO getting help from outside provincial government

HALO Air Ambulance’s motto has always been: “In flight for your life.” 

Now, the air ambulance is in the fight for its life. 

HALO Air Ambulance CEO Paul Carolan sent a letter to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney May 8 in order to try and receive provincial government funding to help support the “only medevac helicopter service dedicated to southern Alberta.”

There is a vast rural area with not a lot of communities in between so getting a fast aerial support is critical and have saved many lives. In fact, they did a mission to Patricia on the evening of May 20 and another to Brooks May 22.

As of yet, the provincial government has not put forth any direct funding with discussion they will not address it until September. For the Air Ambulance, it would mean the “scaling back to one helicopter by June 1” in a limited capacity and the ceasing of all operations by July 1.

They have put forth the #HALOChallenge where they want people, businesses and organizations to make contributions. In the press release, Carolan had pointed to $250,000 per month in operating costs. 

“HALO believes deeply in our communities and our communities believe deeply in HALO. This is one of the most important principles to the HALO Air Ambulance Program,” explains HALO Air Ambulance CEO Paul Carolan.  “The outpouring of support has been nothing short of extraordinary. We have received countless messages, offers to help and donations in the past week. We are overwhelmed by the community support. Once again it will be because of the hard-working community-minded individuals, responsible corporate sponsors and regional and municipal governments that HALO weathers this storm. The people of southern Alberta have always proven HALO is a vital and essential service, now it’s time for the Government of Alberta to treat it as such.”

HALO Medevac Air Rescue’s #HALOCHALLENGE campaign has been receiving messages of support as well as donations on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. 

Because COVID-19 has shut down public gatherings and many businesses… opportunities to hold fundraisers have been lost. Like many fundraising attempts, donations are needed and with a tough economy, high unemployment and thus far very limited public contact and no social gatherings, the traditional support and lifeline for HALO’s operations have dried up. 

However, Carolan is beyond pleased with the response of the HALO Challenge launched May 8 as well other fundraisers which have pledged support for HALO. 

"The community support answer the call of #HALOCHALLENGE build each and every day. It started with families challenging families, friends challenging friends, and neighbors challenging neighbors,” explains Carolan. “We are grateful for every challenge, for every penny. The challenge continues to grow, a group of businesses in Medicine Hat have launched challenges as well. Red Velvet Salon challenged several other salons in Medicine Hat and the #HairForHALO has kicked off and is gaining momentum. McCain Foods, along with Western Tractor and JEB Transport have launched #FreeFryFriday as a corporate challenge with a substantial fund raising goal. More ideas and offers are coming in daily.”

The rural area has been supportive and Carolan gives a nod to the many 4-H clubs who have stepped up with the pledge of donating proceeds of their projects to the cause. Because the 4-H show and sales have been changed to virtual ones, or doing direct private treaty sale, those are still to come.

It makes Carolan proud.

“It makes sense that the farming and ranching community has always been a key part of the HALO Program. With the remoteness of our region and the lack of established runways HALO is often the best solution to help in rural southern Alberta,” explains Carolan. “One of our most incredible, and loyal supporters has always been our local 4-H groups. Year after year members of 4-H groups from across southern Alberta hold fundraisers for HALO, donate calves, heifers and steers to be auctioned for the benefit of HALO. Each year we are approached by 4-H groups asking if they can, once again, support HALO. 4-H is at the heart of rural Alberta. A program that helps shape tomorrow’s leaders, a program that teaches valuable lessons about the value of friendship, community and duty. HALO is proud to receive so much support from 4-H.”

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