I got this today from Robert of the American Friends of Magen David Adom – thank you..
Just days after the Sderot area experienced the its latest brush with terror from a Qassam attack when a rocket slammed down near a neighborhood kindergarten, the city received a much needed upgrade to its essential services with the opening of a brand new Magen David Adom Emergency Medical Station.
The new facility, built by American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA), replaces a makeshift building built over 30 years ago that had recently been condemned for structural problems. The lead gifts were made in memory of Judy Kaplan of New York City and Esther and Hyman Rapport of Cleveland, OH.
Beneath cloudy skies and the always present threat of renewed Qassam strikes, an enthusiastic audience of dignitaries, including Minister of Health Yaacov Ben-Yizri, Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal and Cultural Attache for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv Efraim Cohen, marked the opening alongside local Sderot paramedics, the leadership of Magen David Adom in Israel and friends of Magen David Adom from around the world.
In his remarks, Ben-Yizri said the day was a cause for both celebration as well as sadness, “We are excited that we can open such a grand and impressive facility, yet we are saddened by the knowledge that, at least in the near future, it will be called upon to treat the wounded from the surrounding areas,” he said. “When we see the work of these paramedics, we see examples of excellence where despite the situation and the dangers, they always perform remarkably.”
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal spoke of his city’s sincere appreciation for the goodwill that has been shown to them by the international community saying, “While it may be that life is difficult here, the fact that people on the other side of the world care for us and support projects such as this new MDA station, this is what gives us strength to continue on and I can promise you today that this city will never fall.”
Prior to the official ribbon cutting of the new station, Daniel R. Allen, Chief Executive Officer of American Friends of Magen David Adom, saluted the donors who made the project possible and said the new facility would permanently enhance the already dedicated level of care MDA is able to provide Sderot and the surrounding areas. “What we have done is follow the instructions of Rav Kook. What was old we have made new and what is new we have made holy. We have been able to take an old station desperately in need of repair and make a new one that is both holy and of which all the people of Sderot and Israel can be proud. This town is a true symbol of courage and conviction and we as American Jews feel it is important to say that when the people of Sderot are under attack, we too feel their pain.”
The new Sderot station combines a large ambulance bay area with a dispatch facility, offices and multiple rooms for crews to rest during shifts. The building was constructed to updated standards that make much of it protected against rocket attacks, allowing crews to easily move to safety when hearing the “Tzeva Adom”alert.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Sderot resident and former Minister of Defense Amir Peretz, Professor Yehuda Skornick, President of MDA Israel, Dr. Noam Yifrach, Chairman of MDA Israel and Eli Bin, Director General of MDA Israel. Veteran Israeli broadcaster Haim Yavin served as the master of ceremonies.
American Friends of Magen David Adom – ARMDI is the authorized organization supporting the life saving efforts of MDA in Israel and representing Magen David Adom in the US. Magen David Adom (MDA) is Israel’s only government-mandated ambulance and emergency medical responders, serving as the nation’s second line of defense with medical, disaster, ambulance and blood services. Thanks to AFMDA/ARMDI supporters, more than 700 MDA ambulances and Mobile Intensive Care Units are on call 24/7, operating from over 100 Emergency Medical Stations and 11 dispatch stations throughout Israel, logging more than 6.75 million miles and taking care of more than 700,000 patients annually. Acclaimed for their heroic role in rescuing the wounded, coordinating activities with the IDF and Home Front Command and raising morale in Israel’s north during the Second Lebanon War, MDA also provides 97% of Israel’s blood needs and has launched the MDA Israel Cord Blood Bank.
In Sderot and the surrounding western Negev region, MDA remains on high alert, racing to the scene of every Qassam rocket and mortar attack to protect and care for Israel’s people.
Hope that station stays so empty they start doing Bingo night there…