Emergency medicine student awarded for volunteering in Ukraine

Tobiáš Luft is a first-year student at the Faculty of Health Sciences in Olomouc. Photo: T.L. archives
Tuesday 25 April 2023, 14:30 – Text: David Kresta

First and immediate aid to those in need – that has been Tobiáš Luft’s motivation for several years. As a volunteer, he helped out during Covid and then in war-torn Ukraine. The first-year full-time student of Emergency Medicine at the UP Faculty of Health Sciences has recently received the Royal Rangers Emergency Medical Service Award for his outstanding volunteer work.

 “Since I was a kid, I’ve been in the Royal Rangers, which is an international children’s organisation similar to the Boy Scouts. One of the branches near Mariánské Lázně focuses on medical work. It is a private emergency medical service that combines volunteer work, mountain rescue, and commercial activities. As time went on, I attended training courses where I practised extended first aid as well as diving and climbing,” said Tobiáš Luft about his beginnings.

The Příbram native took a stab at rescue three years ago, when the world was struck by the Covid-19 pandemic. “The staff in our centre fell ill, so volunteers had to lend a hand, too. We helped as assistants with the disabled and immobile, and we also went to people who asked for our help,” said Luft, who volunteered during secondary school.

As a volunteer, he has also experienced the war in Ukraine first-hand. He took part in three missions to evacuate families with disabled, sick, and injured children and elderly people. He also helped evacuate soldiers and civilians from zones a few kilometres away from the frontline, transporting them to nearby hospitals. He visited the cities of Lvov and Bakhmut, where he was welcomed by other Czech volunteers. “It was nice to see how many of our volunteers are helping in Ukraine. The interaction with the locals was also encouraging. However, I’ve also experienced some difficult moments. The worst was seeing dead bodies. Also, we were targeted by the occupation forces. When you drive a car with a medical cross on the roof and find yourself under artillery fire... it’s definitely not a pleasant experience,” summarised Luft.

In March, he was awarded in Karlovy Vary for his help in Ukraine. “The biggest reward is the feedback from the people we helped. But I do appreciate the Royal Rangers award. It’s an acknowledgement that what I am doing is really helpful.”

He found out about the Department of Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care at the UP Faculty of Health Sciences from a friend of his – a medical faculty student. And when job opportunities abroad didn’t work out for him, he decided to give university studies a try. After graduation, he would like to work as a paramedic in the civilian or military sector. “I know for sure that I want to keep helping those in need,” emphasised Luft.

“On behalf of the Department of Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care, I want to say that we are proud to have students like Tobiáš Luft. Through his volunteer work, he is fulfilling the mission of the field of emergency medicine that he has chosen for his studies. Congratulations to him! I really appreciate the fact that we have such students at our department,” said department head Marinella Danosová.


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