Release date: 14 August 2022

The work of the Sunshine Coast RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter service has been celebrated by more than 350 local business people who joined winemakers from across the world to raise an impressive $15,000 at the Travis Schultz & Partners (TSP) Wine Symposium on Friday evening (12 August).

In 2021-22 the local rescue chopper recorded a busy 12 months for lifesaving missions, including 18 flood and weather-related missions during the three catastrophic weather events, that claimed lives and devastated communities across huge areas of the state.

The impact of the service was felt deeply by those in the room, who heard first-hand recounts of some of these missions from RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Aircrew Officer Rick Harvey.

“For our crews over these peak periods, we were responding to back-to-back calls, in an absolutely relentless environment,” Mr Harvey said.

“We were able to answer numerous calls for help, but also when we’re out there we are seeing many more tragedies unfold and are constantly looking at other ways in which we can assist. In times like this, it can be really difficult and we heavily rely on our crew’s ability to make great judgement calls and really draw on their experience and skillset to get everyone to safety where possible.”

The event – held at Venue 114 – is the brain child of leading Queensland compensation lawyer and wine connoisseur, Travis Schultz, who said he was thrilled to see the successful soirée back after a two-year hiatus due to the unforeseen pandemic.

“As a board member of the LifeFlight Foundation, I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact this service has on the community, so this cause is one close to my heart,” Mr Schultz said.

“When you hear the stories of survival and the gratitude from the families who get to hold their loved ones again, it’s hard not to donate – this service goes above and beyond every single day.”

The money was raised through a “Wall of Wine” raffle, where wrist bands were sold to the crowd for a 1 in 4 chance to win many wine prizes.

The donation to the not-for-profit organisation is timely, as the Sunshine Coast RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper came to the assistance of almost 500 people and flew for more than 750 hours in 2021-22, with the missions – provided at no cost to the patients – estimated at more than $12 million dollars.

“I am so grateful for the people who dug a little deeper into their pockets at the Wine Symposium and helped the service to continue carrying out critical life-saving missions,” Mr Schultz said.

“I’m also thankful for Riedel who donated their premium glassware for this year’s event and for all our exhibitors who donate their time and wine to make the evening possible.”

The TSP Wine Symposium serves not only as an opportunity to raise money for LifeFlight but also for guests to network with like-minded people on the Sunshine Coast.

“This event is our way of saying thank to community who continue to support us and who have ultimately made TSP what it is today. We tell all our attendees to come prepared to sample wines, chat with winemakers, feast on local food and connect with members of the business and professional community,” Mr Schultz said.

“This year we had 29 wine brands on offer, hailing from leading Australian regions, France, New Zealand, Italy and California just to name a few.

“It was a spectacular night and an honour to host some of the world’s best wineries. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2023.”

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RACQ LifeFlight Rescue:

In the 2021-22 Financial Year, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s community helicopters, Air Ambulance jets, Critical Care Doctors, Flight Nurses and Flight Paramedics came to the aid of 6,825 people. The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters are part of the Emergency Helicopter Network (EHN) and respond to retrieval and rescue missions, tasked by Retrieval Services Queensland, which is managed by Queensland Health. A service agreement with the Queensland Government, the sponsorship of RACQ and innovative profit-for-purpose social enterprises all contribute to pay for this vital service, which is provided at no cost to patients, however, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue relies on the community to help make up nearly 30 per cent of funding each year.