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Fort Macleod STARS volleyball tourney funded air ambulance mission

Volleyball Tournament.

STARS air ambulance officials Megan Thompson and Karina Alventar presented a plaque to Mike Bourassa in recognition of the mission funded in 2014 by the Fort Macleod Charity Co-ed Volleyball Tournament.

Fort Macleod’s ongoing support for STARS air ambulance paid off in a local emergency.
STARS carried out a life-saving mission July 31 in Fort Macleod that was paid for by the annual co-ed volleyball tournament.
“It hits pretty close to home,” tournament organizer Mike Bourassa said.
STARS officials were in Fort Macleod last month to present a plaque commemorating the mission sponsored by the Fort Macleod Charity Co-ed Volleyball Tournament.
Details of the air ambulance’s mission were not released, only that the STARS helicopter was dispatched to Fort Macleod.
Previous missions funded by the volleyball tournament were flown to Pincher Creek and Bonnyville.
“They’re looking forward to us having the tournament again this year,” Bourassa said.
One of the programs run by STARS is Fund a Flight, which allows donors to contribute $5,400 to cover the cost of a typical air ambulance mission.
The volleyball tournament has a balance of $2,500 with STARS.
“We’re getting close to being able to fund two flights,” Bourassa said. “If we have a big year this year it is possible we could fund two.”
The tournament will go ahead in 2015 with a new look and a new venue.
Since the F.P. Walshe school gymnasium is not available due to the modernization project, the charity volleyball tournament will instead be held at Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
The area normally used for the ice surface will be transformed into three volleyball courts – one more than is available at F.P. Walshe school.
“It affords us the opportunity to have more teams,” Bourassa said.
Tournament organizers will rent a portable floor through Volleyball Alberta.
Ten teams will be allowed in each of the recreation, intermediate and competitive divisions, an increase of two teams per division.
Bourassa is optimistic the tournament will attract 30 teams.
“I’ve already had people inquiring about it,” Bourassa said. “People tend to plan around it.”
The tournament will also be held later this year, on April 10-12, rather than the third weekend in March.
As a result, a conflict with the Lethbridge co-ed league’s playoffs will be avoided, which means more city teams can take part in the Fort Macleod event.
Tournament organizers will operate a beer gardens upstairs at the arena, and the cabaret will be held in the curling club.
The Fort Macleod Initiative Group, which is fund-raising for the large gym at W.A. Day school, will operate the tournament concession.
“We‘re looking forward to it,” Bourassa said of the annual tournament. “It will probably be our biggest one ever, which means we should be able to raise more money.”
Money that will fund those life-saving STARS air ambulance missions.

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