An ambulance bearing the symbol of the Baltimore Orioles and a message of friendship now answers emergency calls in the Ukrainian city of Odessa.
A goodwill gift from the Advanced Care Ambulance Co. in Carney, the vehicle bears the message in Ukrainian, "To the citizens of Odessa from your friends in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A."
Last year, three doctors and an engineer from the Odessa Medical Institute came to Baltimore under the Sister Cities Program.
Joe Dulany, who is on the Sister Cities Steering Committee for Odessa, met with the physicians, Konstantin I. Merlich, Vilen F. Venger, Sergey A. Geshelin, and the engineer, Lishchenko Y. Vladimirovich, and showed them Baltimore.
"We took them to Shock Trauma, and everything we had was like Disneyland to them," said Mr. Dulany, who also is chief executive officer of Advanced Care. "New [medical supplies] are just not available to them."
Seeing the Ukrainians' need -- the ambulance they had been using was 19 years old -- Advanced Care found a vehicle to donate.
The company was notified last week of the safe arrival of a 1989 Type II Chevrolet Van ambulance donated Oct. 10, 1991, to Odessa. The 5,025-mile journey by containership and by land took about two months.
Included in the shipment was $10,000 in medical supplies donated by the Baltimore medical community.
The ambulance was shipped out to Leningrad, but by the time the vehicle arrived, Leningrad had become St. Petersburg, and the Soviet Union had become the Commonwealth of Independent States. From St. Petersburg, the vehicle was driven overland 2,000 miles to Odessa.