Garfield Beaudry sat down to put his boots on for dinner with friends and woke up five hours later in an emergency room.
During those five lost hours the senior suffered a heart attack and STARS was dispatched to his rural Raymore home, more than 100 kilometres north of Regina.
After the helicopter landed on his farm, the crew flew him to Regina General Hospital, where he later awoke and learned from a cardiologist what had happened.
“I was looking the death angel in the face Saturday afternoon,” said Beaudry. “Monday morning, doctors put a pacemaker in me and on Tuesday I was home. I like to consider STARS as angels with red wings.”
Beaudry spend most of Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, doing chores around his home. He hadn’t been feeling well that morning but was looking forward to dinner with friends.
Luckily for Beaudry, his friends showed up two hours earlier than expected. Otherwise, the 75-year-old would have been alone in the country when his heart troubles began.
“It was Divine Providence,” said Beaudry. “It wasn’t my time to go.”
Dan Lorenz is a volunteer firefighter who helps secure safe zones for STARS pilots to land the helicopter when it’s dispatched for an emergency near his community.
Until Beaudry’s flight, the two men were acquaintances. In a small, rural community everyone knows everyone. Now, they have formed a special connection made following the day’s events.
Lorenz was in the field harvesting crops when a dispatcher called to say STARS was needed. As he approached the scene he realized STARS was destined to land on Beaudry’s property.
“It hit home when I knew it was Garfield,” said Lorenz.
It was difficult to watch Beaudry being airlifted from his home, unsure of the outcome.
“I hope to never see the helicopter,” said Lorenz. “But it is the greatest thing we have in Saskatchewan.”
Beaudry, who feels much better since his pacemaker was installed, agrees.
“I think of that day nearly every day and how fortunate I am to have STARS and others in the medical profession,” he said. “STARS had me from this place to Regina in 25 minutes and without that helicopter I probably wouldn’t be here today.”
Not long after Beaudry was discharged, he visited the Regina base to meet some of his crew and offer thanks.
“It was so special to meet my pilot and paramedic,” said Beaudry. “They answered every question and really made me feel like I am somebody.”
It was an emotional reunion, said STARS paramedic, Sheldon Lund.
“As paramedics we don’t get a chance to meet our patients or find out how they do,” he said. “Meeting Garfield brought out a lot of reward and pride.”