Kamloops hospital gets another $500,000 donation for patient care tower

The season of giving is in full swing as the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation announced they'll be receiving a $500,000 donation from the Ralph Emsland family in support of the patient care tower project.

“We’re thrilled to see this donation to the Royal Inland Hospital patient care tower project,” says Meagan Hanson, RIH health service director, in a news release. “We feel the patient care tower is going to transform the way health care is delivered in Kamloops and the region. The support the tower is receiving from the Kamloops community, in this case, the Emsland family, is heart-warming and we are very grateful for their donation.”

Ralph and Linda Emsland have a particular connection to RIH, giving birth to sons Brad and Jeff there. The expansion project, which includes a new rooftop helipad, is also of interest to Ralph, who started Westcan Aircraft.

According to the release, he and son Brad worked on the initial pilot project for the helicopter medivac program in the interior of B.C. They leased a Bell 412 helicopter to CC Helicopters in 2010, as part of this project for BC Ambulance Service, and acquired CC Helicopters in 2011. As a result of the success of the pilot project, they were able to secure a dedicated contract in 2012 to serve the Interior.

As a result, Ralph knows all about the benefit of having a helipad right on the hospital, which is included in the expansion project.

“Helicopters were using the original helipad at the hospital for decades until it was deemed not to code by Transport Canada in 2010," he says in the release. "After that, we were then forced to use a pad at the city works yard in Mission Flats, which was not ideal as it meant that patients still had to be transported a distance by ambulance to the hospital. Local and provincial efforts allowed for the hospital helipad to be rebuilt so that we could once again land close to the emergency department.”

The Emslands join a group of generous donators who have contributed to the RIH Foundation in recent months, including Warner Rentals, the Kelson Group and the Stollery Charitable Foundation.

"We have been thinking for quite some time about making a donation to RIH Foundation. The patient care tower with the helipad on the roof was the perfect opportunity for us to contribute to something we believe in, and in an area that has significant meaning to us,” Ralph says. “We are hoping also that our contribution will be an example to the community and will encourage others, both individuals and companies, to also donate.”

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