The 2021 version of the annual PSAC STARS & Spurs Gala will be like no other with three innovative ways to support STARS Air Ambulance’s operations.
Dave McHattie, chair of the 2021 event and VP Institutional Relations, Tenaris Canada, said while a ‘traditional gala’ is no longer feasible due to the pandemic restrictions, organizers have come up with an exciting three-pronged approach to raise money for the crucial essential medical service for Albertans.
Last year the gala – the single largest annual fundraiser for STARS – brought in $800,000 of the $17 million raised over 27 years. In order to match or beat last year’s tally, the event has been split into a Safe@Home campaign, a 50/50 draw and a live industry auction.
“The people of this industry recognize from the very beginning of how we are stronger by having this this essential medical service available if something were to go wrong,” said McHattie. “Over the years through good times and bad, this hasn't changed. Our industry is going to be here through good times and bad and therefore we need this essential medical service that STARS provides in good times and bad, and that's why we continue to see that support.”
This year’s theme is essential Canadian as the energy sector is an essential Canadian industry and STARS is an essential medical service, said McHattie.
“The values of safe, local, neighbourly secure, supportive, heart, together, all of these are considered to be Canadian values,” he said. “And we also consider that these are common values with our sector and with the service that STARS is providing.”
McHattie said the money raised from the three events will go more directly to STARS due to lower expenses. He said the annual event enables the industry to remind its communities and stakeholder why STARS is so important to the service, supply and manufacturing sector.
“As essential as our operations are to the Canadian economy so too are the communities where we operate,” said McHattie. “Together this enables us to illustrate how much we're concerned about making sure that across the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, where stars has six separate bases, … if something ever were to happen, this essential medical service is available to them.”
The support for STARS is even more important in this COVID environment as costs have increased for the service, said McHattie.
On February 27, the events kick off with a release of a 60-minute video celebrating the STARS campaign showcasing very important patient stories, messages from supporters, the honorary patron award and a few new single event videos by local Canadian entertainers.
“We will get to share some of the important reasons why PSAC and STARS are connected,” said McHattie. “People can see the companies that have participated through their sponsorships as they are recognized during this video as well.”
Even though people won’t be all together in one room, they can be together in their own home, or in cohorts to watch the video together,’ said McHattie.
Local Sponsors Willow Park Wines and Cargill have contributed to organize food and beverages, which people can order from to watch the video. Organizers will recommend a list of local restaurants to order from. McHattie said every bit matters in this challenging year and STARS needs this funding as much as it has any other year.
“This is such a different environment,” said McHattie. “But it still can be as fun as that single event. By splitting these up into three, there is an opportunity for not just one single moment of recognition and of celebration, but more of a celebration of how important STARS and PSAC industry are together. Many sponsors from prior years have already signed on to support, but there are still opportunities available. Information is available at www.starsandspursgala.ca.”
The 50/50 draw will end on the date of the live industry auction. Tickets are expected to be on sale about a month or six weeks before the live industry auction, which is expected to be in May or early June.
“This industry is constantly innovating and changing and so is this event,” said McHattie. “Let’s say we have the opportunity one year from now, to put 1,000 people in the room, we still may want to separate these events so that we can provide that broader activation and engagement across our community so that it's not just in Calgary. We have the ability to reach the communities across the entire Western Sedimentary Basin in the different campaigns.”