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Two Firefighters Presented with Humanitarian Awards for Volunteer Work in Israel

More than two years ago, two West Pierce firefighters began their journey in volunteering to fight fires in Israel through a non-profit organization called Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP). Last week Firefighter/Paramedics Rob Mayzak and Travis Smith were presented in front of the Board of Fire Commissioners with the Humanitarian Award for their work in the program.

As members of EVP, Mayzak and Smith were deployed to Israel in 2016 to assist the fire department after terrorist attacks broke out. Along with firefighters from the United States, they were able to assist the local Israeli firefighters and mitigate more than 1,700 arson related fires. Seven days after Mayzak and Smith deployed, the fires were under control, more than 80,000 citizens had been evacuated, 162 homes were lost and more than 37,000 acres were burned. While those may seem like daunting statistics, thankfully zero lives were lost; firefighters or citizens.

“Not only were your services greatly appreciated by the Israeli government, your efforts present a positive image of our country in a very volatile and divided part of the world,” Fire Chief Jim Sharp said as he addressed the crowd.

More firefighters from West Pierce Fire & Rescue have expressed interest in joining this organization and their efforts. For more information on EVP, their mission and work, please visit their website.

Congratulations to both Firefighter/Paramedics Mayzak and Smith on a job well done!

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