Milt Mastad and his family were STARS supporters long before he needed their help.
And while he joked that his donations served as an insurance plan, he knows living far from a critical care centre is no laughing matter, “Where we live, we don’t have easy access to medical attention,” said Milt.
After returning home from a day of work, Milt joined his daughters in taking their colts out for a ride. He joined them atop Partner, a young horse he had recently started training.
On their way back to the yard, something spooked the horses. Milt’s horse, Partner, began bucking, spelling disaster for Milt.
“We were catching so much air because he’d leap from a hill,” said Milt. “It was probably four or five jumps, and it felt like he was getting higher and higher. I couldn’t see where we were going. On one of the jumps, I came down in the saddle and I could feel my pelvis just blow apart.”
After getting their own horses under control, Milt’s daughters, Tressa, 11, and Peyton, 13, found their dad lying on the ground – they asked if he was OK.
“No, I’m really not,” Milt recalled saying. “I’ve split my pelvis and my SI joint came apart.” Having seen injuries like this before, Milt knew exactly what had happened.
While Tressa stayed with Milt, Peyton rushed home to tell her mom, Paulette. “We jumped into the SUV and bounced our way out there,” said Paulette.
After seeing that her husband was unable to walk, Paulette reversed the SUV as close as she could so Milt could get into the vehicle. “Paulette drove up with the bumper almost touching my nose,” said Milt. “I started crawling into the back.”
Paulette called 911 and local first responders made the long drive to the ranch. They determined Milt was in critical condition and transported him to the nearest town, where STARS picked him up and flew him to a trauma centre.
A potential three-hour drive became a 20-minute flight, thanks to STARS.
“When we found out STARS was coming, we felt so relieved that dad didn’t have to suffer through the pain of bouncing down a bumpy highway,” said Peyton, “it calmed our worries a bit knowing that he was going to get to safety quicker.”
Within four months of leaving the hospital, Milt had resumed riding. He also met his flight crew and expressed his gratitude for their service.
“Everybody either already knows someone or is going to know someone who needs the service,” he said, “I take comfort in the fact that if something does happen, STARS might be there to give me medical attention again.”
When asked what she would say to donors, Paulette was overwhelmed with gratitude. “Just keep donating,” she said. “It’s so worth it. You don’t think you’re going to need it, but when you do, you’re sure grateful.”
It’s stories like Milt’s that encourage our team at Viterra to support the vital, life-saving service that STARS provides across the prairies.
“We understand how critical time can be in emergency situations, and with the majority of our customers and employees being located in rural areas, STARS can be the difference between life and death,” said Jeff Cockwill, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Viterra.
Over the years, STARS has touched the lives of Viterra employees, customers, and their families. This partnership helps ensure that STARS can continue to provide immediate medical attention when it’s needed most.
“We continue to support STARS because they go above and beyond for those who need it most, and we see the difference that it makes in our communities,” continued Cockwill.
Help support STARS by donating or purchasing your 2022 STARS calendar and merchandise at your local Viterra facility, or online at www.starscalendar.ca.
Click here to learn more about STARS' lifesaving work!