August 8, 2014 7:25 pm

A ‘thank you’ seen from the sky

Theo Slingerland is using his business to thank an important team of emergency officials who take to the air everyday to save lives. At the Lethbridge Corn Maze, he’s created a massive labyrinth with a unique theme to honour our emergency medical services and more specifically, STARS air ambulance. The maze has been attracting a lot of attention.

“Wow,” says Slingerland. “I’m just blown away by the responses we’re getting. From everywhere.”

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“The STARS helicopter is always flying right over here between Calgary and Lethbridge, so we see them every day almost. At least once or twice a week. We think it’s a great job that they are doing and that’s why it’s a very worthy cause to support.”

In addition to the ‘thank you’ message, Slingerland is also planning on donating all the funds he makes from the maze on Thanksgiving Day to the STARS foundation. One look on social media shows the gesture hasn’t gone unnoticed. Looking at the post on the STARS Facebook page, Slingerland was surprised to see over four thousand likes on a picture of his maze.

“That’s incredible. I guess people like it very much.”

The image has prompted many people to comment their own appreciation and share stories of how they’ve been helped by STARS.

“STARS played a huge role in saving my wife’s life,” read one comment.

“We are forever grateful to STARS. They deserve the recognition,” said another.

It has also been spreading through EMS groups throughout the province. Slingerland’s daughter, Melissa Slingerland, has worked as an emergency medical technician for over a year and has seen the popularity of the corn maze spread.

“It’s all over the Facebook pages and even some EMS pages are sharing the picture of the corn maze,” she said. “It was kind of funny because one of my co-workers saw it and didn’t know it was my place. So I showed him a picture later in person and he said ‘Oh, how’d you get that picture? I saw it on Facebook.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s my place.’”

These unique fundraisers that happen at a community level, it’s really the fuel that drives our whole operation and we can’t express our appreciation enough. It’s that kind of support that keeps us going every day,” says STARS spokesperson Cameron Heke. “I was talking to our crew this morning and they’re very excited to have a look when they’re flying over the area.”

Around 75% of STARS funding comes from community partnerships and fundraising. It costs each team’s ‘base’ about $10 million to operate every year.

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