First fundraiser for Air 1

The struggle between Onondaga County lawmakers and the Sheriff's Department has been well documented when it comes to Air 1.

County lawmakers agreed to continue funding the Sheriff Department's chopper so long as it started to seek private funding.

Saturday, the Air 1 Foundation did just that, coordinating a poker run -- with stops at several fire departments across the county. Officials say the run will not only help raise private money, but also raise awareness on why the helicopter is an important life-saving device.

"If we had to go out and do some of these searches without the equipment that's on Air 1, to go find the lost hunter in the hunting season, to go find the disabled boater or the person in trouble on the lake -- we would be doing it the old fashioned way, and we'd be losing people," said Undersheriff Warren Darby.

Darby said there isn't a monetary goal at the moment. He said, right now, the foundation is trying to raise as much money as possible before the next budget season -- when he expects county lawmakers to tell the Department how much it must raise to keep Air 1 in flight.