Welcome to My Personal Page
My name is Jennifer Blatz and I have been working as a Chief Administrative Officer in rural Manitoba for just over six years now, and have been employed for the RM of Ste. Anne for five of these years. I absolutely love my job and all of the different types of mandates that come along with it.
Keeping our fire departments managed on an administrative level, it is so obvious to our regional municipalities that STARS has become indispensable to our first responders when attending motor vehicle accidents, when transport is needed to a major trauma centre or when faced with recreational accidents in areas that are too isolated for our vehicles to access.
Just as importantly, having lived in farming communities all my life, STARS attendance at farm related accidents has been vital. STARS critical care teams have responded to our area 282 times since 2010.
In July 2016, representatives of STARS attended one of our Council meetings to discuss the STARS organization and the types of services they provide. Many of us were surprised to hear of the extensive medical care that can actually be delivered at the scene of an accident. This would include their specialized air ambulance and critical care nurses and paramedics, along with the top of the line equipment and technology they have on board. I was in awe.
The STARS delegation also spoke of their STARS Rescue on the Island fundraiser, which we were familiar with as our municipality contributed to the participation of City of Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen in 2015 and La Broquerie Fire Chief Alain Nadeau in 2016. One of our Council members jokingly mentioned that they were going to send me to the island in 2017 and hopefully leave me there!
This comment was brought up again after a tour of the STARS hangar later that summer. When asked if I would be interested in participating, I was on board immediately. I couldn’t think of a better way to help connect with our region to hopefully encourage municipalities and corporate organizations to also recognize the importance of STARS in our province, as we had not had this service until 2012 while Alberta has had it since 1985.
In addition to understanding the benefits of STARS for my community I also have very personal reasons for wanting to support the organization.
I am the proud mother of 2 children, Savannah being 12 and Griffin being 9. In 2008, Griffin was born at the Boundary Trails Hospital with wet lungs after a caesarean section and was not breathing. They let me kiss the top of his blue forehead and brought him away to emergency while I was taken to recovery. After almost an hour while the team of doctors and nurses tirelessly worked to clear his lungs, I was told that his organs were now operating at just over 50%, just short of complete failure, and they would be calling an “ambulance on wheels” from Winnipeg with a team of specialists to help. It would take this ambulance about an hour to arrive, as the hospital we were in is located just north of the US border.
Obviously Griffin did survive and miraculously after many years of heart murmurs and breathing issues, is a perfectly normal child. That day was one of the scariest ones of my life, turning into one of the best. I will be carrying a picture of both my children while trapped on the island to give thanks to the medical team who made this happen and to bring me luck and inspiration in raising funds for STARS.
Although as indebted as I am for the help we received, I can’t help thinking of how much faster that care would have arrived if STARS had been flying that year. Griffin would have been given critical care considerably sooner when every moment counted, which might have helped alleviate the medical issues he experienced afterwards. I can’t imagine how many other people in Manitoba can relate with similar stories.
To raise awareness of the need for regional support of STARS, and to pay forward the gift I was given with Griffin’s survival, I am advocating for STARS by participating in the 2017 STARS Rescue on the Island fundraiser. From both my professional and personal experiences, I can’t stress enough how important STARS is to our rural regions and municipalities when life-saving critical and medical care is needed and time is of the essence. In rural Manitoba, almost all of us know of someone who has received the services of STARS or worked closely with them as a fellow first responder.
Let’s show our encouragement and make sure STARS stays in Manitoba for good. Through generous support and donations from all entities, municipalities, private and corporate, we can all as a community make sure that these critical services are retained, and we can be comforted knowing that when immediate critical care is needed, STARS can be there to help.
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