We’ve all seen, heard, or called for an ambulance during a time of need like a medical emergency. But perhaps you have not heard of a Romanian man named Eugen Vaida who has found another purpose for ambulances.
Eugen launched a national social movement called Ambulances for Monuments to deploy citizens, regardless of rank, skill, profession or knowledge, to help restore historical buildings and monuments throughout Romania. There are more than 50 personnel on each of the 7 teams that have been assembled over several years. The teams investigate these historical sites to assess damages and then rely on local citizens, alongside professionals, to restore them.
So where does the ambulance come into the story? As Eugen was quoted by Reader’s Digest magazine, “There is an ambulance that comes on-site, assesses the damage, stabilizes the patient. And then the patient is ready for treatment.” His teams use actual, repurposed ambulances with the tools needed to revive their “patient” which runs the gamut from ancient windmills to castles to medieval churches.
Inclusivity is a key aspect to this endeavor. What Eugen has created gives back a sense of importance and interconnectedness for individuals within the community while rejuvenating the long and rich Romanian cultural treasures.
Perhaps the lesson here is that by protecting the sites and restoring them to their original conditions, it rekindles both community relationships and a respect for the architecture of this beautiful country. It certainly gives one a deeper appreciation for the buildings that hold such renown in world history.
References: Ashoka.org. (2022). Eugen Vaida. Retrieved from: https://www.ashoka.org/en-us/fellow/eugen-vaida