Local Resident Donates Ambulance To Ukraine Humanitarian Effort

An ambulance donated by local resident Brian Kliesen and bound for Ukraine sits outside St. Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church. Courtesy photo

Father Theophan performs a traditional vehicle blessing, praying for those who will use the ambulance and dousing it with holy water. Courtesy photo


On Tuesday, December 6, Father Theophan was at Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church, making copious amounts of Baklava for the annual fundraiser for Ukraine.  While baking, the phone rang and Father Theophan answered, not realizing the opportunity for helping Ukraine was closer than he had imagined.   

A recently retired local wildland firefighter, Brian Kliesen, called to ask for a favor.  Brian asked Father Theophan, since Saint Job is a Ukrainian Orthodox Church, for icons to stow in an ambulance he was donating to Ukraine.  Father Theophan was delighted to help, and also did a traditional vehicle blessing, praying for those who will use it and dousing it with holy water. 

Brian had read about US Ambulances for Ukraine, an organization out of Chicago that has shipped more than a dozen ambulances and tons of medical supplies to Ukraine to aid the humanitarian effort there.  Brian purchased his ambulance over a year ago with the plan of becoming a contractor in northern New Mexico, providing medical support for local events and wildland fires.  However, due to various setbacks and obstacles, the project was taking more time and effort than he had planned and had stalled.  After reading about the program, he contacted the organization and donated his ambulance.  Brian also contacted local hospitals and collected several cases of emergency medical equipment to go with the ambulance. 

His donation, along with 13 other ambulances and a fire truck, are headed to Baltimore where they will be loaded onto a ship and sent to Germany later this week.  From Germany they will be convoyed to Ukraine and be issued out to various entities throughout Ukraine.  Brian’s Ambulance is currently set to be assigned to the 79th Air Assault Brigade near Odessa in the south of the country near the front lines.   

The faithful of Saint Job will continue their prayers for Ukraine with an Akathist every Friday evening until Russia withdraws to its proper borders. 

The illegal and immoral war against Ukraine continues. The Ukrainian people are valiantly defending their homes and in turn all of Europe and the US as well. We must not forget what is happening, even when the news cycle moves on to something else. It is through the efforts and support of people like Brian that Ukraine will ultimately survive, prevail, and rebuild. 

Слава Україні!