The First Responder Who Was Rescued Returns To Rescuing

One of the things that I find in my field of work is an incredible amount of resiliency. When someone becomes a volunteer first responder it often becomes something that becomes stuck in a person’s very being. Some say it gets in our blood. So much so, that even when a first responder gets injured on the job, they often work incredibly hard going through rehabilitation and the healing process as fast as they can in order to get back into the saddle and once again race to save lives.

This story is not unique to first responders per se, but it something that I personally have come across again and again among the incredible people I meet on a daily basis. Here is one of their stories.

A few months ago, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Raphael Elihav Nachshoni was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Hashomer Street in Bnei Brak while he was on his way to respond to a medical emergency. Elihav was critically injured and came very close to death. The doctors who received him in the emergency room had given up all chances of his survival. Against all odds, Elihav recuperated, and after a very short stint in rehabilitation returned to duty as a volunteer first responder last Thursday.

Due to his injuries and in an effort to ease his work as a first responder, United Hatzalah has given him one of the organization’s electric cars known as “mini-lance emergency vehicles.” The vehicle was donated specifically for Elihav to use in order to allow him to return to his volunteering as an EMT  first responder without having to ride on an ambucycle, which doctors thought would be inadvisable for him.

During the weekly get together of the first responders in Bnei Brak, President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer surprised Elihav and the other gathered responders when he arrived to provide ELihav with the new vehicle.

The Acting Mayor of Bnei Brak and Secretary of the High Council of Sages Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein came to show his support for the organization at the presentation. Beer commented on how happy he was to see Elihav fully recuperated and back in action. “Today is one of the happiest days in my life. To see Elihav healthy and return to service as a United Hatzalah volunteer, is something that is truly special. A few months ago I visited him while he was in serious condition in the hospital. I made him a promise during that visit, that if he is able to heal and he works on getting himself healthy, then we would do everything in our power as an organization to enable him to return to being a first responder. During the recent weeks when he returned home and was in the final stages of making his full recovery from the very serious injuries that he sustained, Elihav requested to be reinstated as a first responder once again. We made the decision then to purchase for him this special vehicle, our new “mini-lance,” that was just brought into service in our fleet of vehicles a few months ago. With this new vehicle, Elihav can continue to arrive at the scenes of emergencies and save lives as fast as possible, just like he used to do prior to the accident.”

Beer closed by saying: “I and everyone in the organization wish Elihav and his family the best of health and success both in his personal life as well as a first responder.”

About the Author
Raphael Poch is a Canadian-Israeli playwright, producer, director, actor and journalist. He is a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah where he also works as the International Media Spokesperson and is the coordinator for the 'Ten Kavod' Project in Efrat.
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