When Scott Goldstein, Captain of the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company, got the call from the director of U.S. operations for Israel’s Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP), he knew immediately what he had to do. He quickly packed his bags, cleared his schedule and within 24 hours was on a plane to Israel, prepared to fight the fires raging throughout the north of Israel.

Goldstein, who is the EVP regional coordinator for Baltimore, will never forget the power of working alongside Israeli and U.S. first responders, 7,000 miles from home. Recognizing that Israel is a small country with limited resources, he knew that every firefighter made an enormous difference in the outcome and was grateful for the support of The Associated, which funded the deployment.

“In Baltimore County, in times of crises, we can call on other jurisdictions like Baltimore City or Anne Arundel County to help out. Yet in Israel, there is no one else to call upon. That’s why EVP volunteers are so critical,” says Goldstein.

This fall, firefighters, healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, paramedics, physicians’ assistants) and community members are invited to become certified by EVP so they too can join a new Baltimore-Ashkelon Emergency Response Team, ready at a moment’s notice to respond to any crises in Ashkelon and throughout Israel.

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The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.