Fourteen people signed up to help create a Cochrane Health Foundation at an inaugural meeting on Oct. 18.

Brian Winter, chair of the Cochrane EMS Emergency Citizens Action Committee, was pleased with the response to the first meeting that featured guest speakers Michelle and Jeff Bates of the Airdrie Health Foundation.

"We've got 14 people signed up and we're going to try and get the group together before Christmas," says Winter. "I'm going to see what we might be lacking. Do we have a doctor? Do we have a lawyer? Do we have a go-getter?"

"The word's out there," he says, "And they want to keep the ball rolling."

Winter intends to turn the reins over at the next meeting and says he will continue to focus on improving ambulance service in the area.

More are welcome to become involved, whether it be on the board or one of its committees, he says. 

Michelle Bates is the executive director of Airdrie's foundation and walked the crowd of about 45 people through its roots to the current day.

Besides successfully advocating for the Airdrie Urgent Care Centre to remain open 24/7, they have provided over $500,000 in support for the physical and mental health needs of the community since 2014.

She says it's vital for members of the foundation to be on the same page and to work positively.

"I'm hoping that Cochrane can come together and work together and get a good passionate group, then work positively with Alberta Health Services to start improving and enhancing things," she says.

That includes involving town officials and local MLA Peter Guthrie. Of those, only town councillor Susan Flowers was in attendance.

She said to expect obstacles, but to continue to ask questions and raise points with AHS officials to help them understand the situation and obstacles faced in having to rely upon Calgary for care, because, despite what they may say, there isn't a criterion.

Despite this, she says it's all worthwhile.

"You hear the stories back, and you know why you did it."

She says the Airdrie Health Centre is overcapacity and they are advocating for a hospital large enough to meet the needs of their city.

Those interested in assisting with the creation of the Cochrane Health Foundation can reach out to Brian Winter at

Group shotThe delegation from the Airdrie Health Foundation and members of the Cochrane EMS Emergency Citizens Group in attendance at the meeting.

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