On February 28th, Alon and Tal Alexander held a gathering in their swanky SOHO apartment in Manhattan in order to support the emergency medical services (EMS) efforts of an Israeli volunteer organization that is revolutionizing EMS response all over the world.
The two brothers are innovators in their own right. Alon is the President of Kent Services, a building service company that provides security guards, security systems, and janitorial services to iconic buildings in New York City, Washington D.C. and Seattle. Tal is one of the two partners in a real estate firm that has sold some of the most expensive properties in New York City, the Hamptons, and Miami.
So what drew the affluent brothers to support Israel’s innovative EMS organization that has succeeded in reducing EMS response times to less than three minutes across an entire country? According to Alon, the answer is a simple mix of inspiration, hard work, and family, all of which are values that he lives by.
“I met Eli Beer (President and Founder of United Hatzalah – Israel’s national volunteer EMS organization) while being honored at the synagogue of Bal Harbour with the next generation award alongside my brothers Niv, Tal and Oren. Beer told me about the great work they do and I stayed in touch with him. While I was in Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Foundation’s 50th-anniversary celebration, which my brother Niv works for, I got the opportunity to tour the current headquarters of United Hatzalah and the site of their new headquarters that is currently under construction.
I immediately connected with the organization because of a few values that we share. I saw first-hand the life-saving work that is being accomplished every minute of every day. I really connected with the dispatch center which reminded me of my childhood. My parents came to America in the early 70s from Israel and began a security company. They too had a dispatch center which I spent a lot of time working in. Knowing the great work they do, I wanted to help in the best way that I know how to, and that is by opening my home and my rolodex.”
The gathering was held in Alon and Tal’s fifth-floor loft in the New Museum Building where Arianna Huffington and Jon Bon Jovi have at different times owned units. The Alexander brothers did more than simply open their home and invite their friends to meet Beer, who inspired the gathered crowd with the vision and stories of life-saving rescues that community-based organization is involved with on a daily basis. They also donated an ambucycle in their own right, and through the event and the people gathered there, succeeded in raising a total of $120,000 for the organization.
Florida Senior Development Advisor for United Hatzalah, Danielle Elyse David, expressed the gratitude of the organization for the help provided by the brothers. “I met Alon Alexander with Eli Beer in Miami, Alon’s hometown, in 2015, but it wasn’t until he visited the United Hatzalah headquarters in Israel that he decided to take an active part and help others learn about the incredible work of this all-volunteer and free emergency medical service organization that helps people in Israel regardless of their race, religion, or background.”
David explained that help from people like the Alexanders is essential for the growth and development of the work that is done in Israel. “United Hatzalah is relatively unknown to the Florida Jewish community and my goal is to change that. I’ve noticed that as soon as people hear about this lifesaving model, that aims to help treat people in need of emergency medical care prior to the arrival of an ambulance, they are amazed!
“The organization has a response time of less than three minutes and in large cities such as Jerusalem and part of the Tel Aviv metropolis, even less than 90 seconds. That is the fastest EMS response time in the world. Our model is now being copied by other cities all over the globe. Moreover, people are just starting to realize that United Hatzalah is the only organization in Israel that provides emergency medical services for free. The work is being done by unpaid volunteers who respond to emergency calls around the clock and in record time, thanks to organization’s iconic ambucycles and over 3200 diverse community-based medical responders who leave whatever they are doing and respond to emergencies in their proximity. Through the work of the organization and the people who support us, we have changed the whole paradigm of emergency medical response.”
David specifically thanked the Alexander brothers for their efforts in helping to support the cause. “Thanks to events like the one Alon and Tal hosted, we will get more support and we will continue to make sure that less and less people die waiting for emergency medical responders or ambulances to arrive”
Alon said that from his and Tal’s perspective the evening, titled “Fighting For a Breath, A United Hatzalah Dinner,” was a huge success. “My phone hasn’t stopped vibrating with texts and social media notifications from guest and friends that had an amazing time and want to contribute to UH. Even people who didn’t come but saw videos from social media are reaching out to contribute. I think in the end we will find out that we raised over $120K from one night with no expenses to the organization.” For an organization that is one-hundred-percent funded by donations, that is no small achievement.