On Monday, four months after veteran police commando Noam Raz fell in combat, a United Hatzalah Volunteer House was inaugurated in his memory in the community of Adei Ad in the Binyamin region.
Raz, who served as a volunteer paramedic with the organization, as well as a fighter and paramedic in the elite Yamam counterterror unit, was killed last May during an IDF operation near Jenin. In his memory, the United Hatzalah team in the region was renamed to ‘Team Noam’ and a volunteer house was erected. On Monday evening it was inaugurated in a celebratory but somber ceremony. The new volunteer house will serve as a medical supply distribution point, a training center, and a second home, for emergency medical volunteers from the organization in the Gush Shiloh communities, where Raz’s hometown, Keidah, is located.
In attendance at the ceremony were Noam Raz’s family and friends as well as Binyamin Regional Council chairman Yisrael Gantz, the Chief Rabbi of Keidah Rabbi Amir Birenbaum, and the regional and chapter heads of United Hatzalah, as well as volunteers from the organization.
Efrat Raz, Noam’s wife, unveiled the commemorative plaque and talked about his gentle demeanor, and called on the volunteers to honor his memory by saving lives in the same professional and kind manner that characterized her late husband: “Thank you for this beautiful and moving event, you are continuing Noam’s life path,” she said. “Noam was a paramedic for 19 years but from the moment he started the paramedic course until his death he never stopped studying and learning about the newest practices as well as reviewing older material, in order to be the most efficient he could at saving lives. Whenever he had a few minutes on the bus he would open up a medical book. His dedication to saving lives was limitless. Despite his long days with the Yamam, he always made sure to do a United Hatzalah shift early in the morning, before his day with the unit, or late at night.”
Addressing the volunteers, Efrat Raz added: “There are three qualities that characterized my husband’s treatment of patients. First of all, thanks to his constant learning, Noam was extremely quick at diagnosing the medical issue at hand. In addition, once arriving at the scene of an emergency, he had a calming presence that caused the chaos that usually characterizes such events to subside. Finally, once he started treating the patient, he was especially gentle with the person who was in front of him while carrying out the necessary medical procedure decisively. These are the traits you should emulate.”
Yisrael Gantz shared from his own experience saving lives on the ground and praised United Hatzalah’s volunteers in the Gush Shiloh communities for their determination and professionalism in their lifesaving activities. Rabbi Birenbaum also praised the volunteers for their repeated acts of loving-kindness and wished them a year filled with lives saved and babies delivered.
At the end of the evening, Menachem Bakush, head of the Gush Shiloh volunteers who make up Team Noam, spoke about his relationship with Raz and recounted the last training class the paramedic gave to volunteers before falling in combat. “The Gush Shiloh volunteer team was posthumously renamed “Team Noam” in order to convey the team’s resolve to follow in the special path that Noam had and emulate his style of caring for others and doing everything possible to save lives,” Bakush explained. “Noam had a way of always doing good and helping others and that is something we should emulate in all of our activities, as emergency first responders, and as people.”