Updated Monday, December 11, 2023
The final tally is in, and over $110,000 has been raised through 'Staches for STARS.
In a phone call to PembinaValleyOnline this morning, organizer, Lloyd Wiebe, said about $8,800 of that was raised at the fund-raising dinner on November 30th. The rest filtered in online through December 8th.
Read more about the event in the story below.
Take a listen to Candace Derksen's interview with Lloyd during the fund-raising dinner.
About 130 people crowded into the LD Seeds shop west of Altona on Thursday night for the wrap up of the company's annual 'Staches for STARS fund raiser. They were treated to a donated smoked BBQ brisket dinner, presentations by STARS reps and a VIP, or very important patient. Awards were also given out for the "nastiest moustache" in attendance.
Since 2016, Lloyd Wiebe and a few friends, colleagues and customers have been growing, in his words, "nasty moustaches", during the month of November, raising $2,500 for Eden Health Care Services that first year. The gang regrouped in 2017 and, after surveying a few friends and customers, decided to donate the proceeds to STARS Air Ambulance that year and each year since.
"There's a lot of important organizations that need support, but this one just seems to touch everybody that's in the agricultural community," explained Wiebe, noting STARS provides a life-saving service to all of Manitoba, but especially the rural area where every minute can count when it comes to a serious ag-related accident.
Thursday's celebration began with the arrival of the STARS helicopter at the yard site.
"It's neat to have the STARS helicopter sitting outside here but it also makes you think, man I hope this is the only time I see it. So, maybe we think and act more carefully when working with big equipment," he added.
In 2020 and 2021, the fund raiser went online but Wiebe says they weren't as successful. Things returned to normal for the 2022 event and the end result was astonishing, bringing in just over $60,000. In a social media post Friday morning, LD Seeds confirmed they exceeded their $75,000 goal for this year, raising over $90,000 for STARS.
"Every year I say I don't know where this money comes from, but yeah, people open up and it's everything from twenty-five dollars to ten dollars to five thousand dollars that makes this goal come alive."
In fact, donations are still being accepted online until December 8th. Scan or click on the QR code to make your donation.
Grant Therrien, Provincial Director of Manitoba Operations for STARS, was among the organization's delegation in attendance at the event. He noted, 'Staches for STARS' is quite an important event for them.
"This is the first year we've been able to come out with the helicopter and show our gratitude and so, we're really proud to be to be the chosen charity for the cause," he said. "It's unbelievable how much money (they've raised). I think up until last year, they were at $188,000. So, we'll see tonight where they moved the needle to, but it just shows the support that we have in southern Manitoba here in these communities with Lloyd Wiebe as the champion here at LD Seeds, but also all the family and friends and vendors and clients and supporters that are here."
Therrien added, it's thanks to their many supporters that the non-profit organization is able to provide the critical care that it does.
"It starts with our government support, then it goes into the community and to individuals and to groups, corporations, companies. And really, we take them with us on every mission. I mean, it would not be possible to have some of the things we have. Rob's got night vision goggles attached to his flight suit. That's an innovation that, you know, would not be possible without donors that come forward and support those technologies and innovations. And the STARS helicopter has a lot of technology and innovation, and it's equipped with all kinds of life saving equipment and most of it is because of donors like these folks here today who help us put the best tools in the hands of our providers. It also allows us to train them to a very high level, so if the day ever comes that you need us, we're going to bring you the best equipment and best trained people."
Check out our interview with VIP, Richard Manaigre, below.
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