Thorn family donates to airport expansion

$50,000 boost for project

February 6, 2024, 9:43 am
Kevin Weedmark

The Thorn family donated $50,000 last week to the Moosomin Airport Expansion Project. From left are Randi Thorn, Ryan Thorn, Bill Thorn, Phyllis Thorn, RM of Moosomin Reeve David Moffatt, Tyler Thorn with children Anika and Jessa, Ava Michael, Angela Thorn, Tyler Michael, and Gloria Thorn.

The Thorn family gathered in Moosomin Wednesday to make a $50,000 donation to the Moosomin Airport Expansion Project.

RM of Moosomin Reeve David Moffatt says this donation makes a huge difference. The $10.5 million airport expansion project will be funded by a combination of large corporate, provincial, municipal, and local donations.

”We’re about to kick off with our campaign for private and corporate donations,” he said. “We have 118 on the list that we’re about to go out and set foot in the doors and talk to them.

“To have this donation to kick it off really shows something. It shows a local family is willing to put their money into it because they believe in it so much. It’s a great kickoff.”

Tyler Thorn said it’s feels great to be able to help a community project in such a significant way.

“Dad and I talked the other day. The community’s been pretty good to us for a lot of years. Not just in Celebration Ford, but we’ve got a few other ventures in town. You’ve got to give back a little bit when you can. We’ve been fortunate that we’re able to give back.

“We thought we would donate $50,000 to get a start on the local donations. It’s a good start, I think, to the rest of the campaign. Hopefully some others will follow suit.”

Moffatt believes they will.

“When people come forth with something like this, that’s when you start seeing stuff happen,” he said. “I think people will see this and think about what they can give. We’ve had some municipal commitments come in, and now to have this start to the final phase of fundraising it puts us in a good position. Some of the municipalities are contributing over a five-year period, so we’ll likely look into a municipal loan to cover that, but we hopefully will be able to go to tender on the pavement fairly soon.”

Importance of airport expansion
Tyler Thorn says he has come to understand the importance of the Airport Expansion Project over the last few years.

“A few years ago I did not know much about the airport expansion and to be quite honest I thought it was mostly just a few local pilots who wanted a better runway to land their planes on,” he says.

“Since then, I have spent some time educating myself on the importance of a regional airport for rural communities or regions like ours.

“There are three high level reasons why they are important. One is health care, the second is economic development and the third is regional collaboration.”

Health Care
Thorn says he believes the airport expansion will make a big difference for health care.

“Number one is Air Ambulance access. A number of years ago I was talking to a friend about the airport and how much it would cost to build and he asked me a very important question. ‘Tyler how much would you pay if your kid needs to get on that air ambulance plane in an emergency some day?’ That was when the light really went on for me. What if one of my kids or a niece or a nephew or one of their friends, or any kid for that matter, needs that emergency air ambulance flight to Saskatoon to save their life. The answer to his question was I would pay everything I have, but first we need the airport to make that even possible.

“The second part of the health care equation, in my opinion, is that having that emergency air ambulance access makes Moosomin a more likely candidate for expanded diagnostics and health care services. So things like getting a CT machine in the hospital. I believe our chances of bringing that machine into the hospital are much greater when we have that airport.

“Thirdly, if we can get things like a CT machine, we have a much better chance of recruiting health care professionals into the hospital. They want to work in places that have the latest and greatest tools that allow them to be able to do their job to the best of their ability. So the better equipped the hospital is, the better chance we have of attracting new talent.”

Economic Development
Thorn says the airport expansion will impact economic development.

“Our region has a lot to offer the world but we are not real easy to get to. This new airport really opens up our region to the world. Moosomin will no longer be a two-day trip for a half day meeting. Entrepreneurs and professionals will be able to get here, have their meeting and be home in time for supper with their family. An airplane is one way that business people and executives and professionals can buy back some of their personal time.

“In this day and age, there are not a lot of new start up businesses in the world. What we have is a lot of existing businesses looking to grow and expand and set up in new markets. Those people need to be able to have access to their locations. That access plays a critical role when they are determining where to invest in those expansions. This airport will give those companies access to our region.

“It will also help retain local business owners and professionals who are expanding their businesses. They will be able to grow across the province, country or even internationally and still be able to call the Moosomin region home. That is so important to keep those local businesses local and allow those people to travel, grow their business and still be home in time for supper.

Regional Collaboration
Thorn says the Airport Expansion Project is a good example of regional collaboration.

“The number three reason why we feel it is important to support the airport project is to show our support for the regional collaboration that has taken place to get the airport to where it is today.

“We have seen significant contributions from the province and from Nutrien to move the airport forward. We are very grateful for those contributions.

“We also have 14 or 15 local governments that have committed to funding it. Those councils don’t take decisions like this lightly. We think it is important to show our support along side them and let them know that we also support it and are thankful for all the time and financial resources that they have committed.

“If we want to grow and move forward as a region, we will need to co-operate and work together on projects like this to succeed.

“The RM of Moosomin could not have accomplished this on their own, but working together with two levels of government and the private sector we were able to achieve something pretty special.”