As Mel Moyse walked up the hill to his lake lot he suddenly became breathless.
It was October 2012 and he had just finished removing his boat’s docking system for the winter and was heading home for lunch, where his wife was working in their yard.
“Right away I saw the colour draining from his face and he was breathless,” said Mel’s wife, Anita Moyse. “He said he wasn’t feeling any pain, but I knew something terrible was happening.”
The couple climbed into their vehicle and stopped at the closest hospital, which was 30 minutes away. Mel, then 70 years old, drifted in and out of consciousness during the drive.
Medical staff in his small community worked feverishly on their patient but stabilizing him wasn’t easy. Not only did Mel have several blockages, it turns out he had a ruptured valve and was bleeding internally. STARS was called to carry Mel to hospital in the city, where he could receive advanced care. STARS also had the breathing equipment Mel needed onboard the helicopter.
“We are so lucky the helicopter was available, or my husband would be gone,” said Anita.
Five days later, Mel woke up in the hospital and learned that he underwent 16-hour surgery for a triple bypass.
Less than three months later, the couple was at a friend’s funeral. Coincidently, STARS pilot Jon Gogan was asked to speak at the same funeral. The woman who passed away was a long-time member of the Lion’s Club. The club was instrumental in launching STARS during the mid-80s and has a long history with the organization, so Gogan was pleased to share a few words.
“It was such a privilege for me to speak about how much this woman’s volunteer commitment and support through the Lion’s Club meant to our organization,” said Gogan. “Afterwards, a man – whom I later learned was Mr. Moyse – came up to me and says STARS saved his life.”
It was an emotional moment for everyone.
“It had come full circle. This beloved lady had passed away and STARS is in the sky because of a cause that was so near and dear to her for all those years,” said Gogan.
In an effort to show the family’s gratitude, he and his wife volunteer for STARS any chance they get.
“They are professional and caring people and not a lot of people realize how important this service is until they are affected,” said Mel.