United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Gilad Auerbach is always ready to answer an emergency call no matter what else is happening in life. The Talmei Yechiel resident is married and the father of one. Two weeks ago his wife Hemda was planned an evening out with family friends at a local restaurant in Sderot. As Gilad was finishing up with his workday, he began driving on his ambucycle to the appointed location to meet everyone. The life of a United Hatzalah volunteer is predictably unpredictable, however. While en route, dispatch alerted Auerbach to a medical emergency. The volunteer immediately changed course, updating his wife that he would be late for dinner, as he raced to the given location.

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Gilad Auerbach standing next to his ambucycle

He arrived to provide emergency medical care for a 50-year-old man who sustained a head injury. After Auerbach assisted the gentleman, he rode off to meet with family and friends at the restaurant. He had scarcely sat down, however, when his United Hatzalah radio buzzed alerting him to a motor vehicle collision that had occurred in nearby Kibbutz Sa’ad. With a quick apology, Auerbach leaped up from the dinner table and raced to the scene.

After treating the injured, Auerbach finally returned from the emergency call, just as the family evening out was winding down. Within seconds, the medic’s radio buzzed yet again. A young man had attempted suicide by ingesting a large number of pills. Once again, the dedicated volunteer raced outside jumped on his ambucycle and drove to the nearby address. Finding the 30-year-old patient semi-conscious, Auerbach treated the man and took his vitals before the ambulance crew arrived to evacuate him.

By then it was already 9 p.m., and Auerbach’s ever-supportive wife had taken her husband’s food “to-go.” The volunteer medic returned home late to enjoy his (now-lukewarm) dinner, exhausted but gratified to have been there for all these people, whenever and wherever needed.

Auerbach is just one of more than 5,000 volunteers who drop whatever it is that they are doing at a moment’s notice and rush out to help save the lives of other people, many of whom they have never met before.

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