There was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new heliport today at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke.
“Today marks the end of a three year journey,” says Steven Hui, Revelstoke District Health Foundation board chair, to a crowd of roughly a hundred people.
The heliport received Transport Canada certification in May and has since been used five times.
The project cost more than $600,000 was made possible through funding support of the Revelstoke District Health Foundation (RDHF), the North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap Regional Hospital District, the City of Revelstoke Tourism Infrastructure Committee, donated services from local contractors as well as many community members.
“So many times I was speechless and awed at the generosity. And I had to ask myself why. I realized that Revelstoke is a community and we’re special. We care for one another,” says Hui.
It only took four month to raise the needed funds.
Revelstoke is an isolated mountain community and some critical patients have to be sent to Kelowna, which is more than a 200 km drive away.
“This is amazing for your community,” says Spring Hawes, Interior Health director.
|“The Revelstoke District Health Foundation is thrilled,” says Steven Hui, RDHF board chair (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
“Medevac saved my life. I’m glad you now have it in your community,” continued Hawes.
Occasionally helicopters would land at the hospital in the past, either in the field or the parking lot. However, usually they would land at the airport and patients would be ground transferred from the hospital to the awaiting chopper. All of which, took time.
The crowd heard from past patients who owe their recovery to helicopters.
|“It’s a great day for Revelstoke.” says outgoing Revelstoke mayor Mark McKee (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
“Seconds matter,” says Angus Woodman, local Revelstoke resident. Woodman suffered a serious ski accident in the past and credits part of his recovery to a helicopter.
“Not everyone who comes here needs a helicopter. But by god you sure need it when you need it,” says Bill Zmaeff, another Revelstoke resident. Zmaeff says it was a helicopter that saved his life when he had a heart attack.
“I was lying there in a cloud. It was like I was in a marshmallow. Then I saw a pilots uniform.”
Roughly 45 minutes later, Zmaeff landed on the roof of the hospital at Kelowna.
“It may not have ended as well without a helicopter.”
A helicopter was suppose to land at the heliport during the event, but low lying clouds prevented it.