Effingham teen restores ambulance to educate, inspire



a person standing in front of a truck: Lucas Hartzog with his ambulance


© Provided by Savannah WTOC-TV
Lucas Hartzog with his ambulance

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) – A career in the medical fields may seem intimidating to some, especially given the ongoing pandemic.

But for one young teen in Effingham County, it’s been a lifelong dream and he’s now using his passion and a new set of wheels to educate and inspire others.

Over the past month, students across Effingham County have been learning more about a career in the medical fields.

However, this lesson isn’t being taught by your typical teacher.

“I’m Lucas Hartzog. I’m from Effingham County High School,” said the Effingham County High School sophomore to a South Effingham High School class on Tuesday.

But perhaps the even bigger surprise.

“Starting off this is my ambulance,” said Hartzog.

Yeah, the ambulance, it’s his. In fact, it’s his first car.

Lucas is used to answering questions about his new wheels.

“A lot of people say, ‘why do you want an ambulance?’ And I say, ‘cause that’s what I want to do. I want to be in EMS.’ So, I bought an ambulance.”

A passion for Lucas that started at a young age.

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when, I want to say, I was in the fourth grade.”

It was his time in the hospital, watching others care for him that would change everything.

“What these people are doing is amazing and that’s what I want to do. I want to help people,” Hartzog said.

From there, “it just struck me. I was like, ‘Hey, I want an ambulance.’ That sounds weird but it’s really the truth.”

After a long search Lucas finally found his ambulance, retired out of Beaufort County.

“It looked rough whenever I first got it,” Hartozg said.

But with handwork, some paint and plenty of donations one year later it was fully functioning and fully equipped.

As the saying goes, “if you build it, they will come” and to Lucas’ surprise, students did.

“It never crossed my mind, not once, that I would be teaching other students my age. It really means everything to me. I just love being able to share my passion with everybody.”

Of course, Lucas knows not everybody does share his passion but he hopes his story will help motivate others to pursue theirs.

“I am 16-years-old and I own an ambulance. A fully stocked ambulance. I mean, it’s something that took me a while to get there but if you want to do anything you can do it. If you want to own your own ambulance you can own your own ambulance.”

Believing we can all make unusual occur and miracles happen.

Lucas says this is just the beginning and that his main goal is to one day own an entire fleet of ambulances to help serve the community he loves.

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