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75 Years of Saskatchewan Air Ambulance: Women Take a Historic Flight

Saskatchewan Air Ambulance is celebrating 75 years, and a lot has changed during that time. The emergency response service flies people all around and even outside of the province during times when they need it most. As part of an ongoing series to celebrate this crucial operation, Our Stories is featuring a moment of change. On Saturday, August 3, 2019, Saskatchewan Air Ambulance sent an all-female crew out on a call, which was the first in its history.

The day began with a routine call to respond to a man in respiratory distress that turned into a historic flight when pilots Tammie Kulyk and Carly St. Onge, flight nurse Crystal Lybeck and flight paramedic Jen Rondeau realized they were the first all-female Saskatchewan Air Ambulance team to take off.

“It was fun and exciting when we arrived here [at the hangar] and realized we were an all-female crew,” said Rondeau. “We could have planned it three years ago, but we just kind of let it happen, and on Friday night, we realized we were all scheduled together.”

Saskatchewan Air Ambulance’s first all-female flight crew: Crystal Lybeck, flight nurse; Tamara Kulyk, pilot; Carly St. Onge, pilot; Jen Rondeau, paramedic.
Saskatchewan Air Ambulance’s first all-female flight crew (from left): Crystal Lybeck, flight nurse;
Tamara Kulyk, pilot; Carly St. Onge, pilot; Jen Rondeau, paramedic.

Through the years, there have been all-female flight crews or medical crews, but this was the first time that all four crew members were women.

“It was nice for it to happen organically, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter that we’re all women. We’re just pilots and nurses and paramedics, and we’re here to do our job,” said Kulyk.

Staff delivery critical equipment
Staff deliver critical equipment

The four women say that they were delighted to have been the ones to meet this milestone, and that firsts are always important in male-dominated industries like theirs. However, more than anything, they are proud of the work that they and all of their colleagues do through Saskatchewan Air Ambulance.

This story was written prior to COVID-19, and any photos and videos from it reflect this time period.

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