Tag Archive Compassion

Fundraising for Sarnia air ambulance helipad

Gary Martin often watches air ambulance helicopters flying over his farm in southern Lambton County on their way to and from the helipad at the Wallaceburg hospital he and his family uses when they need health care.

On Friday, the president of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture and others with the organization delivered a $5,000 donation for the air ambulance landing and takeoff helipad under construction at Bluewater Health in Sarnia.

The donation was by both the Lambton and the Ontario federations.

When a member suggested the donation – a shared gift from the Lambton and Ontario federations – Martin remembered saying, “What – Bluewater Health doesn’t have a helipad yet?”

Martin said the local federation decided to support this good cause and, through the group’s provincial organization, embraced the opportunity to double the amount of the donation.

Gary Martin, president of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture, speaks with Laurie Zimmer, vice-president of clinical services at Bluewater Health, at the air ambulance helipad under construction at the hospital site in Sarnia. The federation, along with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, contributed $5,000 to the project. PHOTO BY PAUL MORDEN /The Observer

There are 134 hospitals in Ontario that already have a helipad, said Laurie Zimmer, vice-president of clinical services for Bluewater Health.

“This is a huge success for us and really completes our service delivery for the community,” she said.

Sarnia’s helipad is being built on land where a running track and playing field sat next to a former high school site on East Street that was acquired by the nearby hospital.

Concrete has been poured, a 125-metre walkway to the hospital is in place, fencing is up and shrubs have been planted as part of the approximately $900,000 construction project that began in June.

It’s expected to be completed in late August or early September, Zimmer said.

“We’re about three weeks behind with it just because we’re just waiting on some supplies,” including specialized lighting, she said.

Once the work is completed, the hospital will be able to apply for Transport Canada certification to use the helipad to transport patients to and from other hospitals, including those in nearby London.

Certification can take six to eight weeks, Zimmer said.

“It really does provide timelier access to critical-care patients,” she said.

It can take 45 minutes to an hour for an ambulance to drive to London’s hospitals, compared to 20 minutes by air ambulance, Zimmer said.

As well as better outcomes for patients, greater use of air ambulances will allow Bluewater Health nurses and other health-care staff who currently accompany patients travelling by ambulance to remain at the Sarnia hospital and be available to help patients there, she said.

Ornge air ambulances have their own medical equipment and critical-care team to care for patients while they’re being transferred, Zimmer said.

Ambulance crews currently handling out-of-town transfers will also now be available for other calls in the community.

Zimmer said the hospital currently transfers patients four to five times a week, but that number could grow once the helipad is open and providing access to Ornge air ambulance service.

“Once you build it, they will come,” she said.

Previously, patients from the Sarnia hospital would have to be transferred to the local airport by ambulance to reach Ornge helicopters.

Lambton County contributed $400,000 for the helipad project.

So far, just more than 60 per cent of the funding goal of nearly $1 million for the project has been raised, said Kathy Alexander, executive director of the Bluewater Health Foundation.

She thanked the two federations, the county and other donors.

“We’re really excited with that progress so far, but we still need the community to come together and help us build and to open this helipad that will really save lives and make a difference for so many in our community,” Alexander said.

~Paul Morden~
The Sarnia Observer


British Columbia Flooding

LFA sending $2,000 to B.C. farmers hit by floods

The Lambton Federation of Agriculture (LFA) is lending a helping hand to some B.C. farmhands impacted by massive floods.

The organization is sending $2,000 to the B.C. Agriculture Council (BCAC) to help farmers in the province.

LFA President Gary Martin said the BCAC seemed to be the organization that matched their modus operandi for helping all farmers.

“One of [our] directors has some family out in B.C., and we noticed the devastation with the farms that are on the flood plain out there, and [they] just asked if the board would want to send out some aid to it.”

Martin said there’s a lot of farming activity in the areas that were hit in Fraser Valley.

“A lot of animal production and hay and all that. It’s fascinating to look at the maps to see the lay of the land there — it’s really flat and with the dike breaching, the water’s flowing in from the Fraser River.”

Martin said the LFA has helped other farmers across the country in the past, dealing with things like droughts and food shortages. He added that some local farmers donated some hay and organized a couple trucks to go up to the Thunder Bay area when the region was experiencing a drought.

To contribute to the B.C. Agriculture Council’s fund supporting farmers, click here.

~Colin Gowdy~
Blackburn News Sarnia


2020 United Way Campaign

United Way campaign nears 40% of objective.

United Way of Sarnia-Lambton has now reached over $725,000 as it nears the 40 per cent level of the 2020 needs target of $1,900,000.

“We continue to see some good results in this year’s drive so far even though we remain behind last year’s pace,” said campaign chair Vicky Ducharme. “I am most impressed with the fact that we are picking up new donors at work sites, through the mail, and even through our online giving portal.”

Ducharme pointed to the Lambton Federation of Agriculture as an example of great news.

“Each year, the (federation) sponsors our Locally Lambton Dinner,” she said. “This year, we are unable to hold the event and auction, so the (federation) stepped up to double their previous year’s support for this year’s drive. We are so grateful for that kind of support.”

LFA Board President, Gary Martin met with United Way volunteer Vice Presdent, Al McChesney this week to present a cheque for $1000.

Ducharme said they are continuing to see great support from the agricultural community overall with an increase in personal contributions from local farms, but also several local farmers are donating food items for the recently announced shepherd’s pie and lasagna takeout event with the Dante Club.

“The Lambton Cattlemen’s Association is donating all the ground beef for the dinners, and Earth Fresh Farms in Grand Bend is donated the potatoes for the meals as well,” Ducharme said. “A number of local grocery stores have pitched in, including Bright’s Grove Foodland and Metro in Sarnia.”

The United Way has partnered with the Dante Club to offer a deep-dish shepherd’s pie and deep-dish lasagna in two sizes and will be available for pick up on Friday, Nov. 20, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Details on prices are being worked out and will be announced shortly. The meals are provided frozen so they can be stored immediately in the freezer or reheated that night.

To order your meals, or for more information, please call the United Way at 519-336-5452, or email jessica@theunitedway.on.ca.

If individuals cannot pick up their meals on Nov. 20, alternate arrangements can easily be made.

“We are hoping people like the meals so much, they will call us back to see if we still have some in stock, and they can buy additional meals for their freezer for use over the upcoming holidays.” she said. “With the meals being frozen, there is no waste, and we are guaranteed to sell out.”

In addition to the donations from the agriculture community, Ducharme said Libro Credit Union, with three locations in Sarnia and Lambton County, is sponsoring the event as they have for the past several years for the Locally Lambton Dinner.

On The Dot Delivery service is having a bottle drive for the United Way. If you have any beer or liquor bottles or cans, you can call to have them picked up on Saturday, Nov. 15, or can drop them off at the parking lot of Christos on Exmouth Street and Colborne Road.

You also have the option to have a delivery driver to pick up the bottles anytime beginning Monday up to Saturday, Nov. 14 from porches, open garages, whatever is arranged between the donor and On the Dot Delivery.

To have bottles picked up, please call 519-383-5566 or the United Way.

The United Way of Sarnia-Lambton campaign will run until the end of the year and funds over 36 programs and services. To donate, call 519 336-5452 or log on to www.theunitedway.on.ca.

~Dave Brown~
The Sarnia Observer


Lambton Federation of Agriculture Food Bank Challenge

The Lambton Federation of Agriculture donated $1000.00 to the Inn of the Good Shepherd and $1000.00 split among each of Lambton County’s rural Food Banks each to the Inn of the Good Shepherd and Lambton County Food Banks to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on the less fortunate within the community.

“Physical distancing has prevented us from delivering them in person, but the cheques are on their way and in the mail,” said Gary Martin, President of the Federation.

The Lambton Federation of Agriculture as well as other agricultural commodity groups recognize the urgency of the situation in the city as well as in the foodbanks scattered throughout the county.

The Lambton Federation of Agriculture is challenging everyone in the community to donate to local Food Banks and the Inn of the Good Shepherd. A list of acceptable items, drop off times, and locations can be found here: https://www.theinnsarnia.ca/donate/.

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