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Stories From Main Street: From NYC To Bolivia In An Old Ambulance

Group Takes Months-Long Trip To Donate Vehicle To Village
Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street – Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s been said the journey is the destination. That seems to apply to a group called the “Last Responders.”

As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported, software engineer Stephen Jan is the leader of a group of friends, fencing buddies, who are embarking on an odyssey — one part charity, one part adventure.

They’re driving a used ambulance for three to four months from New York to Bolivia to donate it to a village.

“This will be probably around 17, 18,000 miles,” Jan said.

The group found the 2004 Ford E-450 ambulance with 300,000 miles on it for sale on Craiglist for $2,000 in the upstate town of Olean. They painted it red, yellow and green — Bolivia’s colors.

Paul Rosenthal, a museum consultant and a member of the Last Responders, said the ambulance is an example of “something that has lived its useful life as far as the United States is concerned (but) still has a lot of years of service left in it.”

The seven-person team will head for Mexico City, Belize, Guatemala and then follow the Pan-American Highway to Panama, where they will ship the ambulance to Colombia. They will follow the West Coast to South America’s tip, and then come up the East Coast and circle around to Bolivia.

LINK: LastResponders.org

Why?

“You don’t know what there is to discover until you stumble off blindly some place and encounter something,” Rosenthal said.

“I don’t know what experiences I’ll have,” said software engineer Cathy Liu. “But I know at the end, I should have many stories and many pictures to share.”

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