PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — OSF Healthcare worked together with AMT and the Peoria Fire department to send an ambulance full of medical supplies to help those in need in Ukraine.
According to a press release from OSF, Chris Manson, OSF VP of government relations, got the idea to send supplies over after his seven-year-old daughter saw images of the war in Ukraine, and he decided to see if there was any way he could help.
At first, Manson contacted the Ukrainian consulate and learned that they would be happy to accept any offer of help, and provided a list of the most critically needed supplies.
Manson thought an ambulance would also be useful to transport the medical supplies where they were needed, so he contacted Andrew Rand, CEO of Advanced Medical Transport (AMT), the ambulance provider in Peoria.
“I called Andrew and to his credit, I explained what had happened, very quickly after he said, ‘you know, it’s the least we can do. We’re happy to help. We’ll get you an ambulance. Do you want gas or diesel?’ That was really what he asked me was, which do you prefer? And I was blown away by the generosity and his willingness to just jump right in,” says Manson. “And from that point forward, we’re kind of like, okay, I think this is actually going to happen if I can figure out a way to get the ambulance over to Ukraine.”
With the ambulance secured, Manson gathered supplies from OSF Healthcare, AMT, the Peoria Fire Department, OSF Mission Partners, and other first responders, some from as far away as Virginia, and packed the ambulance to the ceiling.
With help from the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA), on March 29, the ambulance was loaded onto a Boeing 747 with 356 pallets of supplies.
As of Thursday, the ambulance was en route to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health.
AMT Community Resource manager Josh Bradshaw said they have sent ambulances to parts of the world with great need in the past and hopes that this ambulance will continue to help people in need.
“We hope that it can do a lot of good for a lot of people, just like it did here in central Illinois,” Bradshaw said.
Manson is continuing to work with other health systems and ambulance companies that have been reaching out to help alleviate the suffering in Ukraine.