The goal of renewing STARS’ aging helicopter fleet is closer to becoming a reality, thanks to a $400,000 grant from Cargill.

The grant will be used by the not-for-profit air ambulance organization to help purchase nine new, medically-equipped Airbus H145 helicopters at a cost of $13 million each. The new aircraft will help STARS deliver critical care to patients across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and parts of British Columbia for the next thirty or more years.

With another spring seeding season upon us, Saskatchewan farmer Adair O’Grady is reminded of the importance of STARS and gifts like Cargill’s. Thanks to its generous allies, STARS was able to fight for Adair’s life by providing critical care and transport after he sustained life-threatening injuries while seeding in 2015.

“It’s exciting to see the agricultural community step up to support STARS,” said O’Grady. “As I watch my children and my crops grow, I’m incredibly grateful.”

“At Cargill the safety of others is guided by our values of putting people first and doing the right thing,” said¬†Jeff Vassart, President, Cargill Limited.¬†“Safety extends well beyond our employees to our customers and the communities where we operate. We are proud to support STARS and the critical emergency care they provide to rural and remote communities when it’s needed most.”

STARS has been flying missions in the new H145 aircraft from two of its bases since mid-2019, thanks to government, community and corporate support of an ambitious capital campaign that hopes to see the remainder of the new fleet delivered by 2022.

“Our supporters ride along with us on every mission, and we’re so thankful our allies are helping us renew our fleet, particularly through these challenging times, when community support is so critical to our operations,” said Andrea Robertson, STARS President and CEO. “These new aircraft are a generational investment in our ability to fight for the lives of Western Canadians for decades to come, and we’re exceedingly thankful to Cargill for their financial support and leadership.”