Lowcountry man takes ambulance to Ukraine

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 6:16 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - As the fighting rages on in Ukraine, one Beaufort County man made the more than 5,000 mile trek into the war-torn country. But he didn’t go alone.

What he brought with him, a lifesaving gift and a reminder that they aren’t alone.

It’s been about a month since Bob Gross got back and he’s still talking about his last trip.

But this wasn’t your typical vacation.

“We had a letter from the Minister of Defense saying that this was a humanitarian mission and they should let us in,” Gross said.

Bob was heading to Ukraine to make an important delivery.

“There’s damage out there, we can’t get people to hospitals, we need ambulances,” Gross said.

Which was exactly what Bob was bringing them.

“I think we can do that.”

See, a few months prior at a Rotary conference, Bob not only learned of the need, but how they could help.

“Each used ambulance is about $20,000. So, I put out the call to our Rotarians and within about ten days I had $20,000,” Gross said.

An eye-opening experience.

“I found out people really do have a good side and really do want to do some good in the world. They often times just don’t know how,” Gross said.

So, with a restored since of hope and $20,000, Bob headed to Germany to pick-up the ambulance.

“It was packed full of medical supplies and firefighting equipment. Plus, we brought them $2,000 worth of medicine with us. We through everything in and took off,” Gross said.

Along with the ambulance itself, medical and firefighting supplies…came another message.

“When they see it, they’ll see a sign on the ambulance that says, ‘This ambulance with donated to the people of Ukraine with love from the Rotary Club’s of South Carolina, USA, Obernburg Germany & Lviv Ukraine,” Gross said.

A gift they people of Ukraine surely won’t forget and it would seem even after 27 years of giving back through Rotary, this will be one Bob won’t forget either.

“For me it’s at the top of the list. When you can see it happen right there. When you know that what you’re doing can make a difference in the world it helps you sleep well at night, gives you a good feeling,” Gross said.

Gross says he along with the District 7770 Rotary Club will likely be raising funds to purchase more ambulances and other forms of aid for Ukraine.