Richmond sends ambulance to Ukraine with help from VCU Health

The VCU Health System donated over $20,000 worth of medical supplies to Ukraine. Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmore

Katie Farthing, Contributing Writer

With the help of VCU Health, the Richmond Ambulance Authority and Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association sent an ambulance full of medical and fire equipment to Ukraine.  

“It’s really part of our mission, our mission to preserve and restore health, really for all people in the Commonwealth and beyond the Commonwealth,” said Michael Roussos, president of VCU Medical Center.

VCU Health donated over $20,000 of medical supplies, like suture kits and trauma scissors, according to Roussos. 

Donating to U.S. Ambulances for Ukraine is a way for VCU Health to extend aid and admission beyond the border, Roussos said. 

“We see international patients here and why wouldn’t we want to support our fellow healthcare workers as part of our own family internationally?” Roussos said. 

Students are encouraged to find volunteer efforts, through VCU and in the community, according to Roussos. 

“Everybody can always use a little extra dose of kindness,” Roussos said. 

Christopher Manson, the OSF Healthcare vice president of government relations, is the founder of U.S. Ambulances for Ukraine, an organization that collects donated supplies and ambulances to send over to Ukraine in their time of need. 

VCU Health played a large part in filling the RAA’s ambulance with supplies, according to Manson. 

“They donated quite a bit and we got that ambulance just packed,” Manson said. “We had pallets and pallets of supplies. So it was really, it was amazing.” 

The RAA ambulance arrived in Baltimore on Nov. 14. Once final checks are done and the other ambulances and one fire engine are there, they will be shipped over to Ukraine, according to Manson. 

The ambulances sent over are covered in written messages of goodwill and luck from volunteers, according to Manson. 

“I see people in Ukraine cry,” Manson said. “They only touch the words on the ambulance, and they’ll just go around the ambulance. They’ll read everything on the ambulance.” 

The next goal for the initiative is to send 10 ambulances and two fire engines by the end of the year. There is no clear end to the mission, according to Manson. 

“We’ll just see what happens,” Manson said. “As long as there’s a need and people are willing to donate, I’m happy to try and help collect them and get them over there.” 

Manson created U.S. Ambulances for Ukraine in March and three weeks after its conception, the first ambulance was driven to Ukraine, according to Manson. 

Manson was motivated by his daughter to help Ukrainians however possible, he said

“She’s seven, and she could see what was going on enough to realize something bad was happening,” Manson said. “So you know, it really bothered her. And at some point, you know, we’re talking about that there had to be something we could do to help.” 

U.S. Ambulances for Ukraine have already sent over 18 vehicles. The ambulance donated by the RAA is the 20th, according to Manson. 

The supplies range from bandages and cardiac monitors to fire department gear and self-contained breathing apparatuses. All supplies are donated to the initiative by outside help, according to Manson. 

“It’s like a loose confederation of people just working together to try and help out, ” Manson said. 

Sen. Mark Warner was present on Nov. 10, when the ambulance left for Baltimore. Warner stated in an email that Ukrainians have shown courage throughout the war with Russia. 

“As we continue to offer assistance at the federal level, it is inspiring to see communities across Virginia step up to support the fight for democracy,” Warner stated. “I applaud the U.S. Ambulances for Ukraine effort for the key role it has played in getting these much-needed emergency medical resources to Ukraine’s front lines.”

For more information about U.S. ambulances for Ukraine, visit its Twitter profile.

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