As part of our Year Of The Volunteer project, we will be highlighting volunteers from across the country who give of themselves and their time to help others each and every day. It is time to recognize these heroes for the work that they do both as volunteer first responders and in their everyday lives. As today is World Teachers Day, held every year on October 5th to celebrate all teachers around the globe, we are highlighting three teachers who made a difference this past year both as a teacher and as first responder, often, in the very school that they teach in.
Osnat Reuven is a social science and art teacher in a high school in Kiryat Gat. She is married to a high-ranking officer in the IDF and lives in Kibbutz Negba with her husband and two children. During the early stages of the Corona pandemic when the entire country was under lockdown, Osnat spent her time with her eldest son providing humanitarian assistance to elderly and ill people who were unable to leave their homes by delivering food, medicine, and groceries to those who needed it. In addition to being a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah, Osnat is a basic first-aid instructor and a member of the organization’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU). As schools began to open, Osnat had to once again juggle her teaching career and her volunteering.
“I believe it is so important to be able to provide emergency medical care when an emergency occurs. Two weeks ago, just before the Sukkot holiday, I arrived a bit early for one of my classes and a teacher walked into the teacher’s lounge with a student who didn’t look well. Right in front of my eyes, she began to seize. She had a full seizure and I caught her in the tonic stage. I laid her down and protected her head while maintaining an open airway as panic erupted around me. Teachers began to scream and shout. I calmed everyone down and gave instructions to those closest to me to go outside and wait for the ambulance, while others I asked for assistance in putting the child on the floor and clearing the surrounding area. I called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center for help and then told another teacher to call the girl’s parents. When the seizure subsided, I made sure that the girl hadn’t sustained any exterior injuries. When the ambulance arrived I helped transport her to the ambulance and gave the driver and paramedic a full account of what had occurred. She was taken to the hospital for treatment and observation with her parents. One never knows when the knowledge of how to respond to a medical emergency will be needed. As a teacher, I try to give my students the knowledge that will help them to become the people that they are destined to be. Being a volunteer EMT and a first-aid trainer has given me the knowledge I need to help those around me when they need it. I see these two aspects of my life as going hand-in-glove.”
After the incident, the school asked Osnat to train the rest of the faculty in basic first aid and the proper use of EpiPens.
Aharon Ovadia is a teacher in a religious day school in Tiberias, he teaches English to students from 1st-grade to 6th-grade. In addition to being a teacher, he is married and the father of three daughters and is a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. He is also the homeroom teacher for one entire grade.
“It is always easier to volunteer during vacation times. During the school year, I need to make time to volunteer outside of the classroom. Knowing that I am an EMT helps encourage my students to volunteer as well. This is a responsibility that I have taken upon myself in addition to taking care of all of the needs of my students in the classroom and marking tests and papers after school hours are over. It is certainly tough and my schedule is full, but my volunteering as an EMT helps a lot as well. Whenever there is an emergency in the school either with a teacher or a student, I get called upon to help them. I remember not so long ago we had an incident where a teacher had an anaphylactic reaction inside the teacher’s lounge. I was pulled from my classroom and rushed to grab my medical kit from my ambucycle which I drive to school and park outside the building each day. I ran back to the teacher, administered an EpiPen as well as oxygen, and saved their life.”
Shimon Sabach has been a teacher for 11 years in Netanya and just finished his master’s in education. He teaches primarily children with special needs or at-risk youth. While he cannot respond to medical emergencies while he is teaching, he mainly responds to emergencies in the afternoon hours after school is done.
“There is a lot of interest from my students with regard to my volunteering. The students often ask me questions about specific emergencies that they heard about or even witnessed. I use the medical training I have to help teach them what to do should an emergency occur. Whenever something happens in the school itself I of course also help as well.”
To support the work of United Hatzalah volunteers such as Osnat, Aharon, and Shimon, or to send them a message of support in honor of the Year of The Volunteer, please click here: