Vicky Tiferet, who is a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah in the northern town of Moshav Yuval, was appointed as the head of the organization’s Emek HaHula chapter last week, becoming the first woman in the organization to hold such a post.
United Hatzalah is built as a national organization but is subdivided into chapters each with its own unique identity and composition based upon the local volunteers who make up the chapter. Thus Bnei Brak and Beitar Illit have a different style of events and volunteer programming than do chapters such as Herzliya, Kfar Qassem, or the Central Negev. This allows the organization to provide individual attention appropriate to the regional, religious, and cultural sensitivities of its volunteers and its patients. There are currently 81 chapters in the organization.
Vicki spoke about the recent appointment to the historic new position. “I don’t look at it as something grandiose. This position will allow me to more easily help my fellow first responders in providing as high a level of emergency care as they can. This is an important role and one that I take seriously and I look forward to continuing to learn from and working with my colleagues and other Chapter heads, as well as my team of terrific first responders here in Emek HaHula who over the years have become a family in of itself. ”
Prior to the recent appointment, Vicky was recently recognized by the organization for her dedicated and tireless service and was declared as the first recipient of the Korenvaes Miracle Award on Chanukah.
Vicki is a secular Jewish woman who immigrated from Russia in 1991 at the age of 9 and currently lives in the town of Moshav Yuval with her husband and four children. She became a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah three years ago after being diagnosed with a chronic medical condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the joints and spine that results in severe pain. “Helping others does me good,” Vicki explained.
In an effort to help others where she could not help herself, Vicki became a massage therapist and now spends her days alleviating the back pain and spinal issues of others and has become one of the most active volunteers in the Hula Valley region.
In addition to her EMS work, Vicki joined the organization’s Ten Kavod (Giving Honor) project which sees United Hatzalah volunteers visit an elderly patient once a week in order to assess and maintain their health as well as spend some time with them to alleviate the sense of loneliness that many elderly people feel. She also became the regional coordinator of the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) for the Hula Valley and Golan Heights. Due to her ceaseless desire to help others and her constant activity in the region, she was quickly appointed to become the Deputy Chapter Head of the Hula Valley chapter and was one of only three women in the entire country to hold such a position. Last week, she became the first woman ever to be appointed to become a Chapter Head.
“Due to AS, I live with pain 24/7 and every day that passes is another day closer to the time that I will have to use a wheelchair to get around,” Vicki explained. “Whenever I wake up, I need to perform a series of exercises before I can move my limbs without serious pain. It makes getting up in the middle of the night to rush out to medical emergencies extremely difficult. But I do it and I do it with love. Because the thing that keeps me healthy is the adrenaline rush that I get every time that I respond to an emergency. It does me good to help others. I believe that what happens with most of our illnesses is that they are somewhat diminished if we are happy and spiritually healthy.”
Vicky has already begun her service as the chapter head and has been in touch with other chapter heads in the region to continue the coordination of regional efforts that were begun by her predecessor Yossi Lahav.
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