December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I am a volunteer firefighter in a local fire department and a resident of Teaneck. Several years ago I joined an organization called EVP, the Emergency Volunteers Project. This organization trains and recruits firefighters and EMTs to come to Israel in times of war or crisis like we are seeing today in Israel. We essentially take the position of a firefighter who is called up to fulfill their Tzahal (army) duties.

I’ve been called up before but this time it was different. Upon being notified of my 14-day deployment I was also asked by EVP to bring a Kevlar vest with me in addition to my regular firefighting gear. My department does not issue Kevlar vests as standard equipment, so I turned to Councilman Mark Schwartz, hoping that his connections with our Teaneck Police Department might assist me in obtaining a Kevlar vest.

Sure enough, within two hours I had a response from Mark in the affirmative and shortly thereafter I received a call from Officer Constantinos Skoufas asking me when I could come down to get fitted for the vest. The next morning I met Officer Skoufas, who took the time to make sure that I got a properly fitted vest, and for that I thank him as well as the “higher-ups” at the Teaneck Police Department for their willingness to jump at this cause to make sure that this resident had what was needed to ensure my safety.

Thank you, Mark, for always being there for me or for any Teaneck resident who needs Township help. As I write this letter from Israel I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank my employer, Cote-L Industries, run by my in-laws Mimi and Cy Fine, and my wife, Aliza, and my kids, Ayelet and Talia for letting me go to Israel for this worthy cause in her time of need. Thank you all!

Yehudah Strauss
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