Five years after his wife and three small children were murdered by a terrorist who broke into their house in the settlement of Itamar 45-year-old Boaz Shabo decided to leave his remaining two children at home in Kdumim and head south to Sderot.
Shabo, a truck driver by trade, has been a volunteer with MDA (Red Star of David Israel's emergency medical organization) for over 20 years. When the rocket attacks on Sderot intensified last week, he decided to transfer from his usual post in central Israel to reinforce MDA teams in the battered south.
But his friends and family could not say they were surprised, during the Second Lebanon War Shabo volunteered to help exhausted MDA teams in northern Israel as Hizbullah rockets rained down.
Despite attempts by MDA officials convince Shabo to limit himself to the city of Ashkelon due to his status as a single father, Shabo was adamant, saying that Sderot was were he was needed the most.
"If I can give something from myself, then I want to give. That's how I felt in the Second Lebanon War," said Shabo on Saturday a short while before he and his team were called to the scene of a rocket crash site in Sderot.
Shabo said it's important to him that paramedics and EMTs keep in mind that there may be people suffering from light injuries or shock who don't come forward for help and that it is imperative to seek them out and offer them help. He remembers the suicide bombing on a bus in Tel Aviv back in September 2002 when he found almost a dozen wounded people who had taken refuge in nearby shops and had not sought medical attention."I tell my children that dad goes where people need him, and they're happy for me that I'm here," said Shabo. "I know that sometimes it's hard for them, but they say they're used to it and they understand that
it's important. I draw strength from helping others," he said, adding that much strength is needed to cope with his grief and the difficulties of raising his children alone.
But because of his personal tragedy, said Shabo, he knows how to relate to relatives of people who are wounded. "I know what they're going through," he said.
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