Westfield couple dedicates life-saving ambulance
Eliana and Esteban Lomnitz at the ceremony dedicating a Magen David Adom ambulance in memory of his and her parents. Photo by Howard Wexler
March 14, 2012
In a salute to their parents that is intended to save lives, Esteban and Eliana Lomnitz have officially donated an ambulance to Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross.
The dedication ceremony was held Sunday at their home in Westfield, where the ambulance was named in memory of his and her parents, Kurt and Helen Lomnitz and Oscar and Marion Guttman.
In a telephone interview two days before the dedication, Dr. Esteban Lomnitz, a retired cardiologist who was born in Chile, told NJ Jewish News, “I realized there was a need for more ambulances in Israel when I first visited there in 1970.”
Their contribution will add to the fleet of 800 ambulances MDA operates in all corners of Israel.
Gary Perl, northeast regional director of American Friends of Magen David Adom, told NJJN that the ambulance will be shipped to the port of Baltimore for delivery to Israel. “Every two months, ambulances are shipped to Magen David Adom in Israel,” he said. “Once it leaves Baltimore it takes about three months to enter the Magen David Adom fleet.”
The ambulances cost $100,000 apiece and are manufactured in Elkhart, Ind., by General Motors. By the time they arrive in Israel, they are fully equipped with all the necessary medical equipment.
“Usually Magen David Adom determines the location of an ambulance, depending on need,” said Perl. “A donor will request a specific location. We try to accommodate, but we never guarantee.”
In his case, Lomnitz said, “I left it up to MDA where to send the ambulance, and they said they would inform me where it is located. Three or four times a year they will send us a report about what is being done with the ambulance.”
Lomnitz said he believes that honoring his and his wife’s parents in this particular way provides critical assistance to Israelis.
“I saw the importance of ambulances in regular medical care and in wartime emergencies,” he said. “I felt that was a very important task, and I hope it sets an example for other people.”