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Western's Aaron Fleming and family make a difference for HALO Air Ambulance

HALO Air Ambulance

The Fleming family, Aaron, Verenice, Kenzie (19) (not shown as she was working), Kennedy (16) and Khloe (13)

Aaron Fleming is an Account Executive on our Western Financial Group team in Medicine Hat.

My family and I donated to HALO Air Ambulance for the second year in a row through our Western Financial Group Communities Foundation. As a record breaker award recipient, I chose to donate my award funds, given to me by Western Financial Group, to HALO Air Ambulance. My family and I then chose to match that donation, and the Foundation donated an additional $500 through the matching grant program, totalling $4,500.

We were proud to present the cheque to the air ambulance team in 2021.

Last year, southern Alberta was at risk of losing HALO Air Ambulance, as it is the only air ambulance that does not receive government funding in our province. It was great to see so many people step forward and keep them in the air. Our reason this year was different – never did we think that we would rely on their life-saving service.

December 30, 2020 was a typical day for our family over the Christmas holidays. Our middle daughter, Kennedy, was excited to head to the ski hill with friends, and it was her first time of the year skiing. At around 12:30 p.m. we got a phone call from her friend’s mom, who let us know she had hit a tree and was injured. Without giving a second thought, I jumped in my truck and rushed out to the ski hill, thinking that I would drive her back in for stitches, or something like that, and take her right back home. When I got there, I was shocked to learn the ambulance was on its way out, that I had beat it there, and that her injuries were worse than I thought. When the ambulance arrived on the scene, they assessed that it was more critical than they thought and radioed for the HALO air ambulance, which arrived on the scene within 11 minutes.

Kennedy was rushed to Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, where we learned her injuries were life-threatening. This was a scary moment for us as parents to hear. My heart breaks for anyone who must hear that from a doctor.

Without Hidden Valley Ski Patrol, Elkwater Fire Department, HALO Air Ambulance, Alberta Health Services, Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, Foothills Hospital, Ronald McDonald House in Calgary, and the support of countless friends, co-workers, and family, I’m not sure we would have the happy ending we have. Kennedy has some lifetime limitations that she will have to deal with. However, she is here and is so because of many selfless individuals who our family will forever be grateful for!

I reached out to Paul Carolan of HALO asking if our family could come by to donate and thank those who took such good care of our sweet daughter. Not only did he allow that but brought the board together for the occasion. As a person who loves serving in our community, I can appreciate how much the thank you meant to HALO's board who selflessly serve so others can continue to live. It was a great day for closure for Kennedy and our family to thank them.

Again, this donation would not have been possible without Western Financial Group and the Western Financial Group Communities Foundation. Our family is forever grateful to our employer and the example of the way they give back – because we live here.