The STARS calendar campaign kicked off Thursday morning with the story of an Assiniboia farmer who said he would’ve died without the organization.
Chad Rogers remembers the accident vividly.
On June 25, 2014, he was outside of his tractor with an attached hay baler when it started rolling down the hill because of a weak emergency break and he couldn’t get back in to stop it.
Rogers found himself underneath about 18,000 pounds, crushing his mid and lower body.
“I remember trying to move my feet to make sure I wasn’t paralyzed,” he said.
Luckily, he had the strength to reach into his pocket and grab his functioning cell phone to text his family.
“Don’t ask me why I texted, not called, but I did,” he explained.
He was in the Moose Jaw emergency when doctors had to tie him up with bed sheets because of a nine-unit blood loss.
“Things were starting to go downhill quick,” he said.
The hospital didn’t have the equipment he needed to survive, so they called STARS air ambulance.
STARS flew him to Regina in a swift 15 minutes for emergency surgery, carrying enough blood to replace what he was losing and putting him in a proper brace for the flight.
“It means everything. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here,” said Rogers. “I don’t know what we did before we had them.”
He suffered a shattered pelvis, cracked vertebrae and a 75 per cent tear in his right knee’s MCL because of the accident, but continues to farm today.
STARS partners with Viterra for calendars of survival stories
This is the fifth time Rogers has spoken about the importance of STARS for their calendar campaign and is featured in the 2019 calendar himself.
Viterra, a Canadian grain handling business based out of Regina, has been paying for the printing costs since 2015.
“We’re very rural focused,” Viterra President and CEO Kyle Jeworski said. “For a service like this that provides essential, life-saving response time, I think it’s a natural fit.”
STARS President and CEO Andrea Robertson said it takes an average of $10 million a year to run a base and they have to raise 50 per cent of their funds.
Across Western Canada, she said, the calendars bring in about $1 million a year.
“So where does $1 million go? It goes right into fuelling the helicopter, paying for our staff,” she said, which is needed to save people like Rogers.
The calendars cost $30 and can be purchased from the Stars Calendar website.