STARS Air Ambulance is something that people in rural communities need. It’s importance is constantly demonstrated and when the Humboldt Broncos crash occurred on Friday, April 6, the world rallied together for the survivors, their families, and the families of those who passed in the tragedy.
Seeing that response the graduating class of Stoughton School wanted to do something in honour of the Humboldt Broncos, their classmate Trey Stocker was playing for the Broncos but had grad photos with the Stoughton class as he planned to graduate amongst them, so was not on the bus. After a discussion, the graduating class approached Leon and Gayla Gilbertson about hosting a STARS fundraiser in memory of the Broncos; a cause that the Gilbertsons were more than happy to support.
“It’s been an emotional time for everyone in Saskatchewan,” Gayla said. “In small towns where we have to drive for everything and nothing is close, we understand the importance of emergency services and STARS. And if you’ve ever wondered why you live where we do, you simply look at the response to this tragedy and you know why – everybody comes together to support each other in times of need.”
“We raised $21,356. Thanks to our generous co-sponsors and everyone that donated items for auctions or for donating their time we are able to donate 100 percent of funds raised tonight to STARS. So, thank you everybody for coming.”
“We would like to extend special thanks to: PureChem, the Big Six Hockey League, Stoughton Vet Services, Stoughton Co-op, Gordon Food Services, Brad Johner and the Johner Boys, Highway 13, and all of the volunteers.”
“We have such a great community and their support for this event was outstanding! They surpassed our expectations and touched our hearts. I would also like to thank the Happy Nun staff that contributed all of their time for this event, over the last week, free of charge.”
The evening saw a prime rib meal enjoyed by the sold out crowd at the event, while they ate Highway 13 performed.
Frank Bedecs with Bedecs Ready-Mix presented official Humboldt Bronco flags to STARS – to put up at each of their bases – and to Trey Stocker of Stoughton. Stocker was playing with the Humboldt Broncos, but was not on the bus that day as he was having grad photos taken with his Stoughton classmates. Stocker is the first of the team presented with the flag, but it is Bedecs intention to give one to each of the team.
“We sell flags and flag poles [at Bedecs Ready-Mix], so when the accident happened we phoned the Town of Humboldt to see if we could purchase a Humboldt flag to fly,” Bedecs explained. “The administrator went silent and I asked if there was a problem. She said they didn’t actually have a flag and I told her we’d take care of it. The manufacturers did them at cost and the first flag we had was sent to Humboldt immediately. It was up by the next Friday, for the first funeral.”
Sales of the flag are going to the SJHL Assistance Program.
Later on in the evening an auction was held, which saw numerous big ticket items including jerseys donated by the Big Six Hockey League. A jersey from each of the teams was donated with a “Broncos” nameplate on the back and auctioned off individually. The Carlyle PureChem Cougars jersey was the sought after item out of those there.
There was also a surprise auction item – a team signed Phoenix Coyote jersey – which was very popular.
Following the bidding action, Saskatchewan’s singing sensations Brad Johner and the Johner Boys performed.
It was a beautiful evening of remembrance and a way to honour the Humboldt Broncos through a local connection in a meaningful way.