Alon Doesn’t Leave Lone Soldiers Alone
Palo Alto, CA, August 10, 2015…Members of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces’ San Francisco Bay Area Region thanked and praised outgoing board chair Ricki Alon at an event in her honor on August 9th in Palo Alto. Alon was appointed the first regional chair four years ago when the operation was launched. In that time, she was responsible for turning FIDF into one of the leading pro-Israel organizations in the Bay Area. Ricki Alon raised awareness and funds to support lone soldiers who leave their homes and families in the Bay Area to enlist in the IDF, even creating a lone soldier family network for dozens of Northern California families. Last year, Alon hosted wounded IDF soldiers at an event in her home which helped the region raise $160,000 for medical, educational and legal assistance for soldiers still struggling with their injuries. And during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, the San Francisco region raised $300,000 to support the troops on the frontlines. Alon was also applauded for inaugurating FIDF’s annual gala dinner which has quickly grown into one of the largest gatherings of Israel-supporters in the Bay Area and features the moving testimonies of soldiers from Israel.
At the event, the FIDF board also welcomed San Francisco orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nik Wolfson as the new board chair who praised Alon for her service to FIDF. “Ricki makes us all better appreciate our connections to Israel by helping those who put their lives on the line for the country,” said Dr. Wolfson. “In four short years, FIDF has become a permanent fixture in the Bay Area and I look forward to continuing Ricki’s work to reach more people with our mission.”
Dr. Wolfson was born and raised in Belarus. As a young adult in 1976, feeling a calling to help build the young State of Israel, he left his family and immigrated there on his own. He graduated from the school of medicine at Tel Aviv University and then served in the Israel Defense Forces for four years, first with the paratroopers during the Lebanon War and then as a naval captain as chief of the submarine medical corps. Dr. Wolfson’s experience as a surgeon during crises and disasters had a lasting influence on him. He served as a volunteer surgeon helping victims in the Haiti and Nepal earthquakes. Last year, he re-donned an Israeli army uniform to serve as a volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces Southern Command medical corps treating injured Israeli soldiers in Gaza.