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Fanshawe hosts special event to celebrate donation of an Aircraft from Ornge


Fanshawe President Peter Devlin (left) accepts the donation of a decommissioned aircraft from Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO of Ornge at a special event on May 4.

Lauren Dietrich | Interrobang | News | May 8th, 2018

Fanshawe hosted a special event on May 4 to celebrate the donation of a decommissioned helicopter from Ornge. Ornge is an integral part of Ontario’s health care system that provides air ambulance service and medical treatment to the critically ill and injured. The Sikorsky S-76A helicopter has been an integral asset to Ornge and served Ontario for 12 years with an average of 400 patients per year. The helicopter logged 21,000 in air hours and over 16,000 landings before its final flight on March 6th, 2011. Several speakers at the May 4 event discussed how this significant donation will create a better learning experience for Fanshawe students in the School of Public Safety and the Norton Wolf School of Aviation Technology. A member of the paramedic graduating class at Fanshawe, Scott Bernaerts, said he believes that the helicopter will allow for a smoother transition from student to professional and improve the education by creating a sense of realism. Some of Fanshawe’s professors within the public safety and aviation schools are also employees with Ornge, which is where the relationship between Fanshawe and Ornge was developed. Brad McCarthur, co-ordinator of the Fanshawe paramedic program, is a practicing critical care paramedic at Ornge and has been working with the company since 1998.

“This helicopter will be a huge asset in experiential learning. Students will get the experience of working inside the helicopter as well as working around it. Not only will they learn the safety aspect but they will also have the opportunity to work on critically ill and injured patients in a confined space,” McCarthur said.

McCarthur has worked on this helicopter for many years out of the London base and has flown numerous patients throughout Ontario.

Ornge currently employees around a dozen Fanshawe alumni and is interested in continuing to hire Fanshawe students. Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO of Ornge, Rob Giguere, discussed the importance of Fanshawe students interfacing with the aircraft and continuing a relationship with both faculty and students at the college.

“We have been talking with Fanshawe about various programs they run to provide guidance in terms of what we need as an employer. This relationship will always continue and I think it will be because of this aircraft,” Giguere said. Fanshawe president Peter Devlin, spoke at the event about how important it is for Fanshawe to have community and industry partnerships.

“We use these partnerships for insight and support in order to prepare students for the industries,” Devlin said. The donation is not only appreciated by the School of Public Safety and the Norton Wolf School of Aviation, but the college as a whole as it will lead to more students having the ability to unlock their potential.


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