Almita, cowboy poets, contribute $1,500 to STARS

Almita Manufacturing presented STARS with a cheque for $1,500 on July 7.

Event organizer Cory Rogers (left) and Almita president Larry Kaumeyer (right) present Maureen Henkel (middle) of STARS with a cheque for $1

Event organizer Cory Rogers (left) and Almita president Larry Kaumeyer (right) present Maureen Henkel (middle) of STARS with a cheque for $1

Almita, cowboy poets, contribute $1,500 STARS

By Adam Eisenbarth

The Ponoka Legion was buzzing with comedy, stories and poems at the Almita second annual cowboy poetry event April 25. All proceeds went to Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service, with the cheque presentation last week.

The event was open to everyone with cowboy poetry followers from across western Canada making the trip to enjoy the evening.

It was an exciting day with poets, yodellers and a comedian entertaining the crowd.

Almita Manufacturing presented STARS with a cheque for $1,500 on July 7.

STARS is always in need of extra funding, with fuel alone being a major expense.

Maureen Henkel of STARS says contributions from events such as this one are crucial to the continuation of the foundation.

“It’s vital. Seventy per cent of our funds are raised through the external fundraising. A lot of that is through companies who hold events for us.”

For Almita president Larry Kaumeyer, the foundation was an easy choice to help.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t a year that goes by where there isn’t a substantial accident on the highway.”

Kaumeyer is always happy to support the cause.

“Lots of people contribute. I think that’s what’s neat about it. It shows that people really understand the importance of it and that’s what you want.”

Event organizer Cory Rogers was happy with the result.

“With the economy being the way it is, we didn’t quite get the turnout we were hoping for but we were still able to make a nice donation.”

Rogers is especially pleased to see the company contribute to STARS with a specific mission affecting a friend of hers.

“They saved my friend’s grandpa and that was about two weeks before we did the event. He was in a car accident and STARS was on the scene. So that night it made it a little closer to our hearts.”

The latest STARS helicopter, the AW139, is nearly ready to take flight with several new features, including better fuel efficiency, which means a larger distance that can be covered and at faster speeds. The helicopters will also be able to transport two passengers on full life support.

The new helicopters will make the foundation even more efficient in an increasingly busy province.

There will be one AW139 in Edmonton and Calgary.

“Unfortunately we’re busier, it’s not slowing down. As our population grows, there’s more traffic, there’s more industrial type things,” says Henkel.

“We do some missions in Edmonton and Calgary but most of our work is in the rural areas,” says Henkel.

STARS has flown about 17,500 missions since it began in 1985, with 1,465 last year, nine of which were in the Ponoka area, and another nine around Rimbey. The Red Deer area used STARS the most, with 75 missions being flown last year.