Lone Soldiers: Profile of a Chandler volunteer

Lone Soldier Hadar Hamu (left) with Israeli IDF friend

Lone Soldier Hadar Hamu (left) with Israeli IDF friend

Michael Cohen

Lone Soldiers are volunteers from all over the world who desire to serve in Israel’s military (IDF) to defend the security of Israel. The Lone Soldier Project at Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation has developed a program to both recognize and support these brave young men and women.

Chandler’s own Hadar Hamu has served as a Lone Soldier. Hadar, is a 22-year-old ASU nursing student. She was born in Israel, moving with her family to the U.S. when she was 10 years old. Three years ago, she graduated from Hamilton High School and decided to become a Lone Soldier in the Israeli military.

She was stationed at Udgat, Gaza, an army-based located six miles from Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. She recalls, “When the war broke out in Gaza, I would be so frightened every time I heard a siren go off. Eventually, the siren simply told me that I had 15 seconds to reach a shelter and wait for a loud boom and rattling of the ground. Then I knew that the bomb had landed and this moment of danger had passed.

“As a medic, I was constantly on call and alert. I treated soldiers who were brought directly from Gaza and needed immediate medical attention, often leaving me speechless. Looking back, all I can say is that the experience was incredibly rewarding and extraordinary.

“I do not regret my decision at all. I couldn’t be prouder to have worn my uniform every day. I couldn’t have been happier to be in Israel during those challenging times. I couldn’t have been more blessed to be surrounded by such warm friends and family (adoptive kibbutz family).

“For all of this, I want to thank Israel. I thank her courageous citizens for their unbelievable strength. I thank her for showing me the beauty of our ancient culture and history.”

These are the words of a committed and courageous young woman. Most of these volunteers leave relatively comfortable homes to put themselves in harm’s way to defend Israel. They really deserve our admiration, appreciation and support.

These young people have no family or home in Israel and benefit from either temporary adoptive situations or Lone Soldier Centers where there is a true home away from home. At Chayal el Chayal, the Lone Soldier Project’s Israeli partner, Lone Soldiers can stay there before induction, on leave and while on active duty to celebrate the Sabbath and all Jewish holidays. The local Lone Soldier Project is sending personal care packages and knitted hats for winter assignments for distribution at this center.

In life, we have choices, and with these choices we can improve the lives of people we have never met but who will appreciate our support and admiration. Help us to reach out to these brave young men and women who protect Israel.

For more information, to get involved or to donate, please inquire at [email protected] or call 480-895-4660.