(photo credit: YAD SARAH, COURTESY)
Yad Sarah volunteer Yehuda Losky spent his birthday on Wednesday doing what he usually does – repairing wheelchairs for lending out to patients – but the day was special as it was his 100th birthday.
He is the oldest volunteer in the organization that lends out medical equipment and provides many other services to the elderly, sick and lonely.
One of 6,000 Yad Sarah volunteers, Losky was born in 1916 in White Russia and came on aliya in 1932. As a soldier in the British Army during World War II, he was a metal worker and mechanic in Jordan and Syria and even reached Iraq. Before 1048, he built armored vehicles for the Israel Defense Forces, and it is likely, he says, that those installed as a memorial at Sha’ar Hagai on the road to Jerusalem are his handiwork. After the war, he opened a metalwork shop that he ran for decades.
Twenty-seven years ago, he saw a newspaper ad looking for volunteers for repairing Yad Sarah medical equipment and established the first repair facility at the Rishon Lezion branch. He has repaired and rehabilitated tens of thousands of wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and more.
He still does some repairs, but he also counsels and advises other volunteers – and has no thoughts of retirement. “All my life, I helped people, and as long as I am able to stand on my own feet, I will continue to do it. Everybody can volunteer,” he said.
Hanna Wasserman, head of medical equipment loans at the Rishon Lezion branch, said that “at 100, Yehuda stands straight and doesn’t use a cane. He comes here early every Friday – our busiest day. We are very fond of him, and when we have time, we enjoy listening to the fascinating stories of his life.”
Yad Sarah director-general Moshe Cohen congratulated Losky on his birthday, adding that he was an excellent model whose knowledge and experience should not be put into retirement. “He has golden hands and a big heart,” he said.