Members of the Church of Incarnation in Mineral recently delivered a much needed ambulance to a Sioux reservation in South Dakota.
Vicar Lura Kaval and her husband bought the ambulance at an auction in Orange County a few years ago, with the intention of donating it to a community in need.
“It took us a while to figure out what we were going to do with it,” she said.
Rosebud Indian Reservation, located in South Dakota, is a nearly 2,000-square-mile area and serves as home to members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, a branch of the Lakota Sioux. The reservation’s emergency medical service has three ambulances to service the needs of the more than 21,000 people living on the reservation. Except when they don’t.
Two of the ambulances on the reservation belong to the United States government, meaning that their services weren’t available during the government shutdown earlier this year. It was learning that news that inspired the Church of the Incarnation to send the ambulance there.
In addition, the church has been gathering medical supplies, school supplies and clothes to donate as well. Their goal is to fill the back of the ambulance with donations. By working with Rev. Dr. Lauren Stanley, the priest-In-Charge at the Rosebud Episcopal Mission, the church was able to determine what to donate.
“It was important to us to give them things they actually need and not what we thought they needed,” Kaval said.
Among the items going to South Dakota are walkers, a cot for the ambulance, diapers, blankets and winter coats.
While the mission may be centered at The Church of the Incarnation, several other churches have donated items, including churches in Charlottesville in Midlothian.
Kaval and several other members left on the morning of July 27 to drive the fully packed ambulance out to the reservation, hoped to arrive on July 30. The vehicle and all of the donated items inside were officially turned over to the tribe in an Aug. 1 ceremony. The members will spend time on the reservation, performing on-site mission work, then returning to Virginia.
“This is the kind of opportunity God calls us to,” Kaval said. “If we do not answer, we’re not doing our job as Christians.”