There are many ways in which one can memorialize a loved one, but few of them are ways which can keep giving back to the nation in the form of saving lives every day. For the Balk family, the choice to memorialize the recently passed Mendel Balk, beloved father and husband, by donating a life saving emergency ambucycle to United Hatzalah could not have been clearer.

Ariela Balk, wife of the recently passed Mendel is the CEO and President of Ariela and Associates – a privately held global manufacturer of intimate apparel, sleepwear and swimwear. On Sunday, she and her family donated two ambucycles to United Hatzalah in order to honor two generations of her family. The first was one in honor of Mendel and the other in honor of their son Max who just recently celebrated his bar mitzvah. The family had also donated an ambucycle in the honor of Ariela’s mother this past December making the donation for Max already the third generation within the family to have ambucycles donated in their honor.

Max Balk in full United Hatzalah swag with the  Motorcycle donated  in his name. (Photo Credit:  Koby Amsalem/United Hatzalah)
Max Balk in full United Hatzalah swag with the Motorcycle donated in his name. (Photo Credit: Koby Amsalem/United Hatzalah)

The ambucycles used by United Hatzalah are life saving pieces of equipment which allow EM personnel such as EMTs, paramedics and doctors to arrive at the scene of an emergency in under three minute, saving precious life saving minutes during first response times. The ambucycle fleet of United Hatzalah responds to hundreds of calls everyday and provide first aid treatment for all emergency situations including car accidents, hiking rescues, continual bleeding or respiratory incidents, falls, cardiac incidents and terror attacks.

“Donors play an important part of the organization,” said Paramedic Nir Bazak who received one of the donated ambucycles on Sunday. “I volunteer with United Hatzalah in order to save lives, and the Balk family who donated this new ambucycle are enabling me to save more lives by arriving at emergencies faster and carrying with me the proper gear that I need in order to save lives. We cannot perform our duty without you. Donors like the Balk family are what makes this organization happen” continued Bazak.

Bazak lives and volunteers in Gedera has been part of the organization for over 10 years. He has saved countless lives and been involved with the organization since its infancy. “It says something about a person when they choose to donate money to something that will save lives everyday. It is one of the most incredible things that a person can do, and to memorialize a loved one who has passed away by enabling others to live, means that the person who passed away has a part of the act of saving those lives. A part of the deceased person continues on in each of those people saved.”

Ariela spoke about her Husband and his desire to help United Hatzalah fulfill their mission. “The work of  United Hatzalah meant a lot to Mendel, he was always impressed with the organization and how quickly their volunteers arrived at an emergency. When we decided to dedicate something to my mother this past December Mendel felt that this cause was the best place to do so as he felt so close to it.”

Ariela and her family together with Staff members and volunteer ambucycle drivers of United Hatzalah
Ariela and her family together with Staff members and volunteer ambucycle drivers of United Hatzalah

Areila said that since Mendel felt so strongly about United Hatzalah, it was easy to decide how to honor Max’s bar mitzvah by creating a relationship that is now three generations strong with United Hatzalah’s life saving work. “United Hatzalah has become a project which the family has taken on,” said Ariela at the inauguration ceremony of the two new ambucycles. The ceremony took place in the presence of all eight of her children who participated in order to demonstrate to them how important the work of United Hatzalah is to Ariela and her late husband Mendel. “We are so happy to be  involved with United Hatzalah and to help with everything that you do and to help save lives,” Ariela said as the ceremony was winding down to a close.

“Mendel was a dear friend to me and to the organization,” said United Hatzalah Founder Eli Beer. “He was more than a close friend, he was a supporter and lover of the organization and he was a person whose entire life revolved giving to others and acts of  loving kindness.  Helping others was his main thing. He helped people that he didn’t even know and by connecting to United Hatzalah he was able to duplicate this chessed multiple times, because every time one of the volunteers who uses one of his ambucycles responds to a call, it is another act of chessed without him even knowing these people.”

According  to Beer “Ariela and Mendel, may his memory be blessed, are the most humble people and have such a wonderful family.  Their children followed in their footsteps and grew up in the way that they wanted which was following the path of Torah and loving-kindness. The dream of every parent is to raise their children right and they have succeeded with that. May the generations to come continue in the same path.”

Max, for his part, said that he was very happy about the donation made in his honor just before he was whisked away by the ambucycle driver for a test drive of the ambucycle that was donated in his name. As he rode away both he, his mother and siblings were smiling from ear to ear. We can rest assured that his father Mendel was as well.