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A Friendship that Inspired a Cross Country Bicycle Ride – Honoring the memory of Daniel Viflic
Daniel Shore began a journey in November 2015 that came to a conclusion with the donation of a brand-new life-saving ambucycle on Sunday during Chol Hamoed Pesach. In November he raised money during a 24 hour bicycle ride that traversed Israel from Metula to Eilat, to purchase an ambucycle that would honor the memory of a dear friend, Daniel Viflic, who was killed by a Hamas anti-tank missile on erev Pesach, April 17th, 2011. Five years later, almost to the day, Daniel Shore honored his close friend by dedicating an ambucycle that will be used by United Hatzalah to save lives in his honor.
Daniel Aryeh Viflic was born in Hong Kong to Itzak and Tamar Viflic, on the 17th of January, 1995. Daniel’s mother, was an only child who was also born and raised in Hong Kong. His father Itzak who was born in Poland, came to Israel when he was just 10 months old and grew up on Kibbutz Ruchama, in the south of Israel. After immigrating to Israel the family established a home in Ramat Beit Shemesh. Daniel also had a younger sister, Adina, and the family was very close.
On Tuesday the 5th of April, 2011, Daniel went to stay with his grandmother Eda who lives at Kibbutz Ruchama. He had just started his Pesach (Passover) vacation from Yeshiva and he was going to stay just a few days with his elderly grandmother, who lives alone. It was actually the first time that Daniel had ever stayed there by himself, as the entire family would generally go there together.
On Thursday, the 7th of April, the day before Daniel was supposed to head home, he called his mother and told her that Zion, an old family friend and the kibbutz school bus driver, had invited Daniel to go and see how they set up hot air balloons in the fields. Daniel had been very tired but was excited at the prospect of seeing this novel Israeli invention. It would be the last time he ever spoke to his mother. The school bus was hit by an Russian made anti-tank missile fired from Gaza by Hamas deliberately targeting the school bus. Zion was injured in his legs but shrapnel hit Daniel in the head, mortally wounding him. People around the world rallied on his behalf in prayers and good wishes but in the end, Daniel succumbed to his injuries.
Daniel’s mother, Tamar Viflic said in a letter that she wrote a year after Daniel’s death, that “Tzaddkim (righteous people) that have gone to the Olam Haba (the next world) do not fully leave us — Just as the stars at night are bright and shinning, but in the day are not visible, but that does not mean that they are not there, you just don’t see them. Daniel is still with us and will always be, he will never grow old and will always be a handsome young 16 year old.”
That message is one that Daniel Shore, Viflic’s friend decided to carry on during his ride five years later in his attempt to garner donations from around the world to donate an ambucycle in Daniel Viflic’s memory and people responded. A total of 153 people from around the world donated to the cause and to support Daniel Shore’s ride to carry on the memory of his friend. And five years later, almost to the day, the money raised for the ride in honor of Viflic was used to purchase and dedicate an ambucycle that will be used to save countless lives in Israel.
Itzak Vilfic who was present at the ceremony was very moved by Daniel Shore’s gesture. The close friend of his son has never let the memory of Daniel Vilfic be forgotten. “Daniel (Vilfic) was a pure soul and had a pure heart. He and Daniel Shore had a very strong friendship. We are so very thankful that Daniel Shore has not forgotten our son or us. Now lives will be saved in honor of our son’s memory and families will not have to go through what we went through.”
The ambucycle will honor the name of Daniel Vilfic and will cause his name to be associated with the life-saving efforts of United Hatzalah for many years to come.
Daniel Shore, said during the inauguration “As a United Hatzalah volunteer I know the importance of having these ambucycles and getting them on the road to save lives. The moment I took upon myself the project of raising the money for another ambucycle for the organization I was not sure exactly how I would do it, but it was clear to me that I would dedicate it to my friend Daniel.”
Shore began to think of creative ways to raise the funds for a new ambucycle. “I connected both passions of mine which is biking and saving lives. I took the biking project to the next level promising that I will complete a ride across Israel in 24 hours, and people really opened up to the idea of pushing the limit when it comes to helping others. People kept encouraging me to go on. But what gave me the most strength is knowing that Daniel Vilfic was with me pushing me onward, and knowing that he is the one who will be coming with me on each and every call.”