Town of Ramapo Honors Chaverim Volunteers with Search And Rescue Backpacks [VIDEOS & PHOTOS]

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(By Sandy Eller)

Recognizing months of intensive training and an indomitable spirit of volunteerism, the Town of Ramapo honored more than three dozen members of Chaverim of Rockland’s Search And Rescue team for their efforts, gifting them with specialized backpacks to be used in upcoming missions.

In addition to responding to calls for relatively simple issues including flat tires and lockouts, Chaverim of Rockland is frequently called upon to lead searches for lost hikers given its proximity to the Catskills. As the demand for its SAR team has grown over the years, Chaverim of Rockland has seen the importance of providing its members with both wilderness and medical training in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.

“Sometimes when we find people there are medical emergencies,” volunteer Moshe Jacobowitz told Yeshiva World News. “People can fall or trip and it can take an hour or more to get them medical attention.”

SAR team members have also encountered situations of allergic reactions, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, muscle pain, drug overdoses and other issues in the course of their volunteer work.

Responding to that reality, Chaverim of Rockland arranged for its SAR team to undergo six months of biweekly medical training given by a certified instructor in a space donated by Hatzolah of Rockland. The courses were sponsored by MM Tires, which also paid for $1500 of first aid and medical equipment for each volunteer. Rescue backpacks, whose specialized design distributes the weight of their contents equally front and back, making them easier to wear for long periods of time, were donated to the SAR team by the Town of Ramapo.

“The town is always here for us,” observed Chaverim of Rockland coordinator Yossi Margaretten. “They are a major help for us in anything we need and the Ramapo police and the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office also work closely with us.”

Multiple town officials praised Chaverim of Rockland and its dedicated volunteers for their round the clock efforts on behalf of county residents during an October 14th presentation at the Ramapo Town Hall. Ramapo Town Supervisor Michael Specht presented members of the SAR team with certificates and Ramapo Police Chief Martin Reilly, Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco and Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh all offered their own accolades for the volunteer group.

The responsibilities of being a member of an SAR team loom large and Jacobowitz recalled a 2002 incident that took place just after he had completed an EMT course, when he came across a car rollover on a New Jersey roadway. Grabbing a helmet out of his car, Jacobowitz joined several individuals who were also ready to lend a helping hand, the others pointing in his direction and asking him for direction, assuming that he was a professional because of the helmet he was wearing. That incident left a lasting impression on Jacobowitz, one that he shared with his SAR volunteers, each of whom is now equipped to take on the role of team leader in the event of a large scale search.

“I tell my guys all the time, ‘if you are wearing this uniform, this badge, you better be ready to be the professional, because people on the street are looking up to you,’” said Jacobowitz. “I am confident that each of these guys who are wearing these backpacks are capable of being the professional.”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


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