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Teck and STARS celebrating 30 year partnership

The STARS air ambulance at the EKMISA 100th annual mine rescue competition in Sparwood on May 13. Teck photo.

Nicholas L. M. Allen

May 24, 2023

Teck makes $300,000 contribution to provide life-saving support for patients in the Elk Valley

Teck Resources Limited (Teck) and STARS announced today that Teck is making a $300,000 donation over three years to STARS in celebration of their 30-year partnership. This contribution will support STARS in providing care and transport to patients who need critical care in the Elk Valley and surrounding communities in southeastern British Columbia. 

Rory O’Connor, Manager of Social Responsibility at Teck talked about the importance of STARS supplementing the companies mine rescue teams which help support the health, safety and emergency response on the mine sites. 

“In our surrounding communities, we have some incredible emergency responders that we look to in the spirit of mutual aid and cooperation, if there’s any need to have that emergency response go broader than just the mine site,” said O’Connor, “One of the pieces that is sort of missing is just that additional layer and buffer of emergency support that comes from an organization like STARS, which is able to deploy ambulatory service on a broader scale to cover bigger distances in a really short amount of time, and they do some ground response as well, but particularly the air ambulance support is just an incredible resource.”

STARS is a non-profit organization that exists to provide critical care, anywhere. Whether by air, by ground or virtually, the expert care delivered by STARS doctors, nurses and paramedics comes in many forms. STARS is the only service of its kind in Western Canada and over the past year flew 29 missions in the Regional District of East Kootenay, including ten to the Elk Valley. 

“[STARS] has several bases across Western Canada, with the closest one to us being in Calgary. That allows for really quick deployment down to the Elk Valley in the case that we ever need those services. It’s a service to us as a company and our employees and our contractors. As we have so many employees and contractors living and working here in the Elk valley, it’s a broader community service as well,” said O’Connor.

Teck’s contribution will help support STARS operations, including hiring talented and motivated crews, purchasing the latest medical supplies, and treating patients with the care, precision and timeliness to help ensure their best chance of survival. 

“Once this pledge is over, they’ll have surpassed $1,000,000 for donations to stars in the past 30 years,” said Josh Nash, Provincial Director of Southern Alberta Operations at STARS.

Nash said this donation is very important and will allow STARS to continue providing critical care anywhere with these large donations and partnerships. It is the donations and donors STARS has that allow them to continue their operations.

“At Teck, we are focused on ensuring everyone goes home safe and healthy every day and are proud to continue our longstanding support of STARS,” said Robin Sheremeta, Senior Vice President of Coal at Teck, “STARS plays a critical role in providing emergency medical services in the communities where we operate, and this gift supports continued innovation and enhancement of the critical patient care they provide.” 

STARS embarked on their first mission in 1985, driven by the goal of providing people the vital care they need when they need it the most. They offer hands-on training to rural medical providers and provide rapid, emergency medical transportation for the critically ill and injured. They operate 24/7 from bases in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

“Partnerships like the long-standing one we have with Teck are critical to our operations,” said STARS president and CEO, Andrea Robertson, “At STARS, everything we do is about ensuring we can be there to provide critical care to the next patient who needs us. This support from Teck allows us to do exactly that. On behalf of everyone at STARS, thank you for this gift and for 30 years of partnership.” 

To celebrate their 30 years of partnership, STARS was on site with Teck and the East Kootenay Mining Industrial Safety Association (EKMISA) at the 100th Annual East Kootenay Zone Mine Rescue Competition in Sparwood on May 13. Teck, EKMISA, and STARS also hosted an Awards Banquet following the competition, which was attended by approximately 400 guests. 

“We were so grateful to have STARS take the time and effort to come out to the 100-year anniversary of the mine rescue zones event [May 13] in Sparwood. They brought in a helicopter that wasn’t needed in service and they landed it in the area where the competitions were taking place beside the Recreation Center in Sparwood. The staff were just so incredible and they were so energetic,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor said they spent the entire day in the hot sun, having people come through, sit in the helicopter and look at the equipment. He added that their generosity, time and spirit speaks to the sort of organization they are and the people they employ.

“It was amazing to see the community engagement in Sparwood from both the community and obviously those employees that work there and live there. So that was a big thing for us as well, and then to see how their competition works when they do mine rescue,” said Nash.

Teck’s first gift toward STARS operations was in July 1993. To date, Teck’s contributions have supported operations which have played a part in the more than 55,000 missions STARS has carried out since its inception.  

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