An ambulance, parked in Erik Vogel’s yard, was vandalized just days before it was set to be driven to Nicaragua. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Vandals in Langley damage dedicated ambulance bound for Nicaragua

Two emergency vehicles loaded with supplies are bound for Central America on Wednesday.

Erik Vogel was crushed this morning, when he discovered vandals had graffitied an ambulance bound for Nicaragua in two days.

The Langley resident and Lower Mainland firefighter has arranged a pair of older, decommissioned ambulances to be loaded up with everything from first aid supplies to baseball uniforms. They are set to depart for Central America on Wednesday.

The trip, which has been more than a year in the planning, is part of Operation Nicaragua, a humanitarian program that tries to take decommissioned emergency equipment and supplies – including ambulances and fire trucks – from North America down to Nicaragua – where they typically don’t have any such equipment.

It’s a cause close to Vogel’s heart, who’s travelled down a few times over the years.

He and his girlfriend, Gaby Olson, will be driving one of the two ambulances down to south. But it’s the damage to that ambulance that has literally winded the firefighter.

Saturday or Sunday night, someone took spray paint and drew on the side of the ambulance. But the worst part of the damage, he said, came when paint thinner was randomly splashed along the side of the vehicle.

This time last year, the 1998 ambulance – donated by MedTech EMS in Delta – was blessed by Father James Kairu at Langley’s St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.

At that time, it was explained that the ambulance was dedicated in honour of Olson’s mother Yvonne Van Rossum.

Sadly the graffiti has defaced that written tribute to Van Rossum, Vogel said.

“I’m crushed. It’s such a bizarre thing to attack,” he added.

“I have no idea why, or what to do about it,” Vogel told the Langley Advance. “It’s such a shame.”

But a short time later, Ian Thompson of 911 Filmcars, stepped up to help. Thompson, who donated the second ambulance going down on this trip (done so in the honour of his late friend Kathy Cadwell), is going to try to repair the damage before the team leaves early Wednesday morning.

Vogel just hopes the damage can be undone in time.

He described the incident as a random, and odd attack. Nothing else in the neighbourhood was touched, and that’s the first time he’s aware of any such vandalism in his Langley City block.

He’s optimistic no other hurdles will come up before the team of four volunteers set off on their trek.

Vogel anticipates travelling to a small town south of Mexico City in about four days, where they’re hoping to drop off water purification tablets, toiletry kits, and some first aid supplies to help the village that was devastated by a recent earthquake.

Then, he said, it’s off to Nicaragua. He expected it will take at least 10 days to get to the final destination, depending on how it goes at the different border crossings.

Related story:

READ: Used fire gear gets an ecclestiastical send off from Langley


Erik Vogel’s fellow firefighters in Burnaby, Local 323, donated all their old CPR mannequins, a truckload full. Some are being taken down with the team to Nicaragua this trip, others will be shipped down in the next container of goods.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Gone Country success means so much to cancer patient

Mother of three, recovering from breast cancer treatment, makes it to seventh annual charity concert

VIDEO: Rural Langley house saved from quick spreading brush fire

Dry weather helped fuel a blaze believed started by faulty farm equipment

A chance to dance with a legend

Langley City Summer Series presented tributes to famous performers

Langley – revving up for the cause

Two local cancer patients receive a bit of financial aid from a recent Langley charity car show

LETTER: Langley City’s MP defends Liberal pipeline purchase

MP John Aldag defends the federal government purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Most Read