A Hero at Only 16

Submitted by: Paula Stern

Last week, fires broke out in Israel. Over 20 fires were set The largest one was set by a careless young man who threw some hot coals into a forest and when he realized he’d started a fire, he ran and didn’t tell anyone. The fire burned for days, destroyed 5 million trees and tens of thousands of acres. Worst of all, it claimed the lives of 43 people. The youngest to die, was a 16-year-old boy, a volunteer in the fire department.

Our children often begin volunteering here in Israel at the age of 15. For the ambulance squads and for the fire departments. Young Elad Riven was only 16 years old. He saw the fire burning in the distance from his school and called his mother. She didn’t want him to go, but she knew there was no stopping him. She brought his equipment to the school and then drove him to meet the firefighters gathering from all over Israel to fight the worst fire in Israel’s history. Elad didn’t want to waste a minute – he dressed in the car as his mother drove.

The flames soared more than 50 meters into the sky; the temperature was unbearable. Elad arrived and jumped on the first fire truck. He didn’t follow procedure. He was young and dedicated.

It isn’t clear what happened – it seems that in the chaos, the unit he went with didn’t realize he was there. Only that night did his parents begin to worry when they hadn’t heard from him. They went looking for him; people hoped he was safe. The fire had moved so quickly to engulf so much.

They found his cellular phone and still they hoped. But after a short while, they found his body. Elad died fighting the fires that threatened so much of the places he loved.

His dedication will long be remembered. Elad was an only child, a dedicated student, much loved by so many.

May his memory be blessed.

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