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Vernon companies issue Air Rescue One fundraising challenge

SilverStar Mountain Resort and Bannister GM challenging area auto dealers to match or beat $10,000 donation
Two Vernon organizations are challenge auto dealers in the North Okanagan to match or beat a donation in order to help Air Rescue One with its winch program fundraiser. (VSAR screenshot)

It all started with a phone call.

Said Brad Baker of SilverStar Mountain Resort and Brad Nakucyj of Bannister GM in Vernon to executive director Leanne Hammond of the Community Foundation North Okanagan:

“Do you think we could challenge other auto dealers in the North Okanagan to help raise funds for the Air Rescue One initiative?”

The answer to that was a resounding yes. Who doesn’t love a challenge for a good cause?

“It seems to me that SilverStar leads the charge by focusing on a need in our community, and Bannister GM always steps up to accept their challenge,” said Hammond. “Now Bannister would like to cast the net wider and extend the challenge to their peers.”

The SilverStar Play Forever Fund raised $10,000 on Family Day for Air Rescue One’s Winch fundraising initiative and immediately matched it with $10,000 more. Bannister GM Vernon has now stepped up with $10,000 for a total of $30,000.

This time, however, Nakucyj is issuing a challenge to all the other auto dealers in the area to meet or beat their gift of $10,000 to make the total $40,000 or more.

“Air Rescue One has a significant goal to reach, and a little friendly rivalry could really help get the giving going,” said Nakucyj.

The Air Rescue One (AR1) program provides critical rescue response to the most seriously injured, lost, and sick. When it comes to saving lives, every minute counts. While ground resources can take hours to locate, treat and evacuate patients who are injured, the rescue helicopter can be launched within minutes, flying to your aid at more than 200 kilometres/hour.

Once on scene, highly-trained rescue technicians can winch down from the helicopter directly to your location, stabilize your injuries, treat your pain, provide warmth and comfort, and winch you to the helicopter overhead.

AR1 is the primary Search and Rescue air rescue team in the Thompson Okanagan. The AR1 program was created by Vernon Search and Rescue. AR1 became the first civilian SAR winch rescue helicopter team in Canada and continues to serve the Thompson Okanagan region.

AR1 has a goal to raise $400,000 to purchase a winch for its program between now and June 2022. On average, three calls a week are missed where a human life is at risk when a dedicated winch is not available. This is a critical piece of equipment to this key resource that is AR1.

“There are so many great projects going on out there, and if we can help turn $1 into $2 or better yet, $4, we see that as a real value add,” said Hammond. “Our donors love to get involved in supporting organizations that are really making a difference.”

To participate in the AR1 fundraising challenge, contact Hammond at or at 250-542-8655.

To learn more about AR1 Heli Winch Society, view photos, arrange a presentation to your service club, or make individual online donations go to

READ MORE: SilverStar to raise money for Air Rescue One on Family Day

READ MORE: Okanagan’s Air Rescue One launches fundraiser to buy its own helicopter winch

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Black Press Media Staff

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