By REBECA KUROPATWA
One year ago, Judy and Bill Mahon decided to make a generous donation to Canadian Magen David Adom (CMDA) with the hope that they made the right choice with their money. They donated enough to send a first responder scooter from Canada to Israel to help Magen David Adom (MDA) do its important work.
This past September, the Mahons received a surprise personal Shanah Tovah video message from Cobi Buskila, the MDA paramedic who was entrusted with the scooter they donated to save lives.
“In all the donations that we’ve ever made over the last 50 years, this is the first time anybody has ever actually put a personal touch to it,” said Bill. “Usually, you get a letter saying, ‘Thank you.’ But this was the first time that we’ve ever had anything that was so really and truly personal.”
When the Mahons visited Israel in 2009, they formed a lasting connection with MDA when they made a stop at the MDA station in Sderot. Since then, they have been annually directing interest earned on their Jewish Foundation of Manitoba (JFM) account to the Sderot MDA station.
As far as what impact the message from Buskia had on the Mahons, Bill said, “Well, it makes you feel very, very good about things. It makes you feel as though you are a part of it, rather than just an appendage. It makes you want to do this every year.
“Because of the contact we’ve had with them, as I mentioned – we did get a written confirmation that the scooter had made 396 calls within the year – that really helped make it semi-personal. But then, when we heard from Cobi [Buskia], that made it so much more personal.
“It makes us feel like this is such a very worthwhile cause, and that you would really like to do this every year, if possible. Well, it’s not possible for us to do it every year, but we are hoping to do something like this as often as we possibly can.”
MDA scooters play a vital role in saving lives in Israel, with the ability to manoeuvre between cars and other narrow pathways, allowing them to get to emergency scenes fast and start treating people until the ambulance can arrive to assist.
Scooters are manned by volunteer medics from all different professions and backgrounds, and are called into action by Israel’s emergency call centre 101, which is also handled by MDA. The first responder to an incident in Israel arrives at the scene in anywhere from 90 seconds-to-three minutes, while an ambulance or another scooter manned by an MDA paramedic is at the scene in seven minutes.
“I know that there are a lot of local charities who need funding,” said Bill. “But, there are a lot of people to fund the local charities. When we donated the scooter, we felt that we made a big impact and it felt right. And when we got the video from Cobi [Buskia], it just reinforced that feeling.”