Categorized | Sports

Volleyball tournament keeps STARS in sky

Chelsie Wolff, Lauren Roelofsen, Leanne Neels, STARS development officer Amanda Taphorn and Mike Bourassa with a cheque from the 2019 STARS Charity Volleyball Tournament.

When the STARS helicopter flies over Fort Macleod, people know that someone’s life is in danger.
So when the STARS Charity Volleyball Tournament has come around each of the past 17 years, people have been quick to lend support.
This year the 42 teams that took part, along with the community, raised $11,419 for STARS.
That’s enough to fund two missions by the STARS helicopter.
“It’s critically important we have the support of small communities,” STARS development officer Amanda Taphorn said. “This is where we come, this is where we want to save lives, and we want to be here when people need us.”
Tournament committee members Mike Bourassa, Chelsie Wolff, Lauren Roelofsen and Leanne Neels presented a cheque May 13 to Taphorn.
About 70 fund-raising events for STARS are held each year in southern Alberta, which relies heavily on the life-saving service of the air ambulance..
“They’re incredibly important,” Taphorn said of the local fund-raisers. “In smaller communities like this in rural areas, where they’ve been highly effected, it’s extremely important.”
As proof of the importance of STARS to a community such as Fort Macleod, Taphorn pointed to an exercise at the volleyball tournament cabaret.
Mike Bourassa of the tournament organizing community asked the crowd how many people had been directly affected by STARS air ambulance.
“Everybody in the room, their arms shot up,” Taphorn said.
Taphorn said the Fort Macleod tournament is well organized and the committee works hard to get the needed support.
Taphorn said the willingness of Fort Macleod and district businesses and organizations to lend a hand exemplifies the community spirit.
“It’s important from a grassroots perspective. They want to give back to an organization they’ve seen directly effect their families and friends. It’s crucial we have the buy-in and support from communities such as Fort Macleod.”
Taphorn, who played in the tournament this year, said it is fun and that helps to attract so many teams.
“I don‘t think it’s ever going to stop,” Taphorn said. “I think it’s going to be one of our longest-running events.”
Bourassa said Fort Macleod and district continues to be willing to support the tournament — and STARS.
“I rarely hear no,” Bourassa said of response to requests for donations or support. “This year there were some who were even more generous or asking what more they could do.”
“The community over the years has figured out it’s a valuable service and it’s also good for the town to have these 40-plus teams coming.”
STARS flew 1,434 missions in 2018-’19, including 10 to Fort Macleod.
Taphorn also brought a plaque to commemorate one of the flights paid for by the volleyball tournament.
STARS flew to Fort Macleod on April 16 — while the tournament was going on — for a medical emergency.

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