STARS flying high after HyLife Foods donation

STARS says the $125,000 received from HyLife Foods 
will go to an as-yet unannounced innovation

HyLife officially announced a gift of $125,000 to STARS air ambulance at Bethesda Regional Health Centre in early October. From left to right: Brent Bekiaris, STARS flight paramedic and mobile education leader; Grant Lazaruk, HyLife CEO; Don Janzen, HyLife chairman and Grant Therrien, STARS director of Manitoba operations.

STARS has another $125,000 to work with thanks to HyLife Foods.

The pork company announced the six-figure donation Oct. 3 at Steinbach’s Bethesda Regional Health Centre.

Grant Lazaruk, HyLife Foods CEO, said the donation reflected their continuing support of STARS, support that the company dates back to 2013.

“At HyLife, our mission is, ‘We take care of our employees, our customers and our communities,’” Lazaruk said. “By supporting STARS, we can embody the sentiment in our mission and support our core values such as safety, teamwork, and respect, which align with STARS’s core values. HyLife has a commitment to take care of the communities in which we live and work, and having STARS as a community partner allows us to extend our support exponentially. HyLife is proud to be a partner in safety with STARS.”

STARS president and CEO, Andrea Robertson, welcomed the gift. Her organization covers many of the rural areas where HyLife staff live and work, she noted, and faster service can only benefit those on the company’s payroll the next time someone local requires an emergency medical airlift.

The air ambulance took flight 632 times during the 2018-19 fiscal period, STARS says.

Grant Therrien, STARS director of Manitoba operations, says they are “thrilled,” by the donation.

“This is the second time that we have been a recipient of a donation from HyLife, so we’re very honoured and humbled by their generosity,” he said. “HyLife is renowned for its support of community programs and the money it’s putting towards STARS shows a real commitment on its behalf towards saving lives.”

The $125,000 gift adds on to a donation several years ago, when HyLife Foods gifted $43,000 to STARS. STARS put that earlier donation towards its operating program.

The company has developed a long list of community organizations that it supports, including a line of community rinks, sport organizations, school scholarship funds and other non-profits, according to a list published by the company. According to the company’s website, its periodic ‘Fun Days’ fundraiser has also raised $650,000 to go back to local organizations.

This most recent donation earned the HyLife logo a spot on the STARS Manitoba Mobile Education Unit, a travelling education centre outfitted with a patient simulator to better train for “complex medical and traumatic problems.” The travelling education centre trained an estimated 500 medical professionals over the last year.

The mobile unit itself won’t be getting the funds, however, Therrien said.

“Right now, we’ve got it earmarked for some future innovations that we’re going to be introducing,” Therrien said, but did not reveal any details.

STARS plans to make an announcement on those innovations at the end of October 2019.

About the author


Alexis Stockford

Alexis Stockford is a journalist and photographer with the Manitoba Co-operator. She previously reported with the Morden Times and was news editor of  campus newspaper, The Omega, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. She grew up on a mixed farm near Miami, Man.

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