Kenneth Brown
of The Clarion

The 2018 Rescue on the Prairie fundraiser for STARS Air Ambulance is in the books and a local businessman has eclipsed a fundraising goal for the annual event.

Garth MacDonald, the president and CEO of G-Mac’s AgTeam Inc., had a personal goal to raise $200,000 through his involvement with the STARS fundraiser. MacDonald surpassed his goal by raising a total of $205,350. The event, itself, took place on Sept. 13 near Lumsden.

Garth MacDonald, president and CEO of G-Mac’s AgTeam Inc.

A total of five participants were flown from the STARS hanger in Regina to Beaver Creek Ranch on Sept. 13 to complete various tasks and continue raising money throughout the day. Each participant was armed with only a cell phone. In addition to that day, people were able to donate to participants prior to the event.

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The Rescue on the Prairie fundraiser has been going for four years. The participants are all “rescued” at the end of the day, and then they attend a banquet later that night. The five participants have raised a total of $525,742.

Each of the participants is paired up with a member of the STARS organization and MacDonald, who was also a participant in 2016, was paired up with a familiar face. Jordan Edgerton of Netherhill, a STARS flight paramedic, was MacDonald’s partner.

The other four participants were Tyler Crozier, the owner of Crozier Ag, JoeAnne Hardy, the president of WBM Technologies, Sarah Johnston, the vice-president of sales and marketing at Group Medical Services, and Dale Ziegler, the president of Canadian Plains Energy Services.

MacDonald, who also raised more than $151,000 in 2016, said he enjoyed the experience and it was nice to get caught up with Edgerton, who was his partner in crime this time and back in 2016. The fundraiser is not a competition, but he set his personal goal because he understands the importance of STARS.

“I just wanted to challenge myself to do my best,” he said, recognizing that the group eclipsed the fundraising totals STARS was hoping to raise. “It was very exciting. STARS had hoped that we would raise $450,000 that day and we raised more than that, so it’s terrific.”

He noted that the STARS Foundation has a daunting task to raise $10.5 million each year to keep its helicopters in the air. The provincial government covers the other $10.5 million to fund the air ambulance service.

MacDonald said part of the Rescue on the Prairie event is to raise money for the organization, but another important aspect is to raise awareness about the importance of raising funds for operations. The G-Mac’s president said he believes STARS accomplished its goals with the event and “it was a great day.”

The participants and their STARS helpers completed various challenges at the ranch. People who won the challenges earned money from sponsors to add to their fundraising totals. Though the G-Mac’s president did not win any challenges, he enjoyed doing the challenges.