Every night throughout Hanukkah, United Hatzalah will be awarding one highly dedicated volunteer with the annual Korenvaes Miracle Award. Tonight’s recipient, on the sixth night of Hanukkah, is Monir Kawas from Julis.
Monir Kawas is a Druze volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. Monir lives in the Druze town of Julis, located near Akko. Monir first learned about United Hatzalah when he was working for a baby clothing and supply store called My Baby. The chain store was a regular donor to the organization and Monir got curious and inquired as to what the organization was. He got inspired by what he heard.
“When I heard about the organization through My Baby, I went online and did some research. What I saw very much impressed me and I decided to sign up to become a volunteer,” Monir recounted. “I was shortly thereafter contacted by one of the organization’s other Druze volunteers by the name of Adham Besan who lives in Yanuh-Jat. He talked to me about the organization and helped me through the registration and training process. It already felt like a family and I had just begun.”
Kawas received a bit of flak from cousins of his for joining the organization, but when pressed he told them that he felt at home in United Hatzalah. “My cousins are part of the national ambulance service and questioned why I became a volunteer with United Hatzalah instead of joining them. I told them that United Hatzalah feels right for me. The people here are respectful of others regardless of who they are or where they are from. They have each other’s backs both in the field and in our regular day-to-day lives. The organization is a brotherhood of sorts and is filled with some of the best people I have ever met.”
Since joining, Monir has become an incredibly active volunteer and on average responds to nearly 60 medical emergencies every month. He responds in his personal vehicle to emergencies both in his home town of Julis as well as in the cities and highways located nearby. Due to his high level of activity, the organization is planning to award him with an ambucycle so that he can respond to medical emergencies even faster.
Monir says that he feels that his help is often needed and that he is constantly responding to serious trauma cases involving gunshot wounds, falls from heights, car accidents, and many others. “Our whole area needs more first responders. There have been many tragic instances where I have responded to an emergency and have been unable to help. One such instance occurred a few months back when I responded to a shooting and walked into the home only to find that the young boy who had been shot, the young fourteen-year-old bot was a cousin of mine. I’ll never forget the effort I put into saving him. Sadly, we were unable to save him. But I realized then that if I put that much effort into trying to save my own cousin, that is the same effort I have to use when trying to save any other person I come across because that person is someone’s cousin. They are someone’s brother, sister, father, mother, son, or daughter and they are important, whether I knew them previously or not.”
Monir said that there are both difficult instances but also positive instances when things that were going so wrong moments before suddenly go right. “EMS isn’t an easy field at all. There are very tough emergencies that we respond to. At those times it is important to be able to lean on your fellow responders and continually remind yourself that you are there to save lives and that we do the best we can, but sometimes we aren’t successful and that it is okay. The positive instances are when you save somebody’s life. That is the best feeling that a person can have. And to have that feeling together with friends and fellow EMTs who support you makes the feeling even greater. This, more than everything else, is why I am proud to be a part of United Hatzalah, because it gives me the opportunity to save lives, and to do it with like-minded and good-hearted people.”
Monir has been selected as the 6th recipient of the Korenvaes Miracle Award this Hanukkah. We will be posting other recipients nightly. To send Monir a Hanukkah card or to make a donation in his honor that will help save lives in Israel throughout the next year, please click here.