Kolt Dobbin was just eight years old when a tree crashed down on him as he was hiking with his family on a catwalk built onto the side of Johnston Canyon.
“I remember, I just heard a crack,” said his mom, Dawne Dobbin. “And then I remember looking up.”
“Trees and stones and dirt came over the top of a cliff,” said his dad Jason Dobbin, “and it took the side of the catwalk off, with Kolt being the middle of that.”
The last thing Kolt remembered before the tree struck him was that he and his family were heading for ice cream.
“I remember coming down the stairs, and that’s all I remember,” said Kolt, now age 10 and fully recovered from his injuries. “And then I remember getting up at, I think it was Banff Hospital, and I said, like, ‘What’s going on?’ and then I think I just went back to sleep.”
He’s right. In fact, a string of helpers who happened to be in the right place at the right time played a major role in making sure he got there.
“We had some people that were a paramedic in training, a nurse, and a former paramedic that was a guard who I believe helped save Kolt’s life,” said Jason.
Alpine Helicopters carried Kolt to Banff Hospital, where STARS picked him up and rushed him to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Cam Bell, the STARS Flight Paramedic who was on Kolt’s flight, led Kolt and his family on a tour of the STARS base recently. They happened to be there in time for a regular morning meeting and were made guests of honour.
“We did some wonderful work that day,” Bell said to the group attending the meeting, “but the chain of survival, and the impact that many people (had on the life of) a young fellow like this, is pretty amazing to be a part of everyday.”
Kolt, who has since returned to his hockey team and is back to helping on the family farm, showed sincere gratitude.
“I don’t think I’d be sitting here right now if it wasn’t for STARS,” he said. “It saves people’s lives.”
“We will forever support STARS (and) talk about STARS,” said Dawne. “It’s a pretty important service.”