A Reluctant American MDA Hero: Jeremiah Cann


NEW YORK, NY (November 26, 2012) — When Parkland, FL resident Jeremiah Cann saw what was going on in Israel during the recent outbreak of violence, he did the only thing he knew how to do: go to Israel to help. Cann, a trained paramedic, dropped everything and rushed to Israel to save lives as a volunteer with Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s version of the Red Cross.

Working around-the-clock amidst rocket, missile, and mortar attacks in southern Israel, Cann was the only Floridian in the group of 20 American MDA volunteers. However, unlike the others who came as part of a delegation of New York paramedics, Cann came alone.

“I did it just because it was the right thing to do,” says the soft-spoken Cann, who is staying in Israel for a few more days. “It’s in my heart to help. This is my blood and it’s something I wanted to do.”

Upon arrival on November 18, Cann was deployed to Netivot, in southern Israel, where he immediately began treating everyone from children in shock to injured Israeli soldiers, including one who succumbed to his wounds from a mortar attack. Cann says telling fellow Americans the truth about the situation on the ground in Israel will be very important for him when he returns home.

Still, Cann, who had recently returned to Florida after a stint volunteering in Hoboken, New Jersey with Hurricane Sandy rescue efforts, does not see himself as a hero and wants no credit.

“We all worked collectively and it was amazing to see how well things went,” he says of the dynamic between Israeli and American first-responders, medics, and paramedics.

“This defines who he is,” says Ruth Cann, Jeremiah’s mother. “He has a lot of Israeli friends and he’s a rescuer with a big heart. He really gravitates towards doing good things in the world.”

Meanwhile, the feeling of gratitude for Cann’s sacrifices is felt strongly on the Israeli side.

“His being here makes us feel like we’re not alone,” said MDA Director of Foreign Affairs, Alon Fridman. “He left his home and life to help us and it’s very touching and appreciated.”


Magen David Adom  provides a rapid and skilled emergency medical response, including disaster, ambulance, and blood services to Israel’s 7.8 million people. The organization is mandated by the Israeli government to serve as the nation’s emergency medical response organization, but isn’t funded by the Israeli government, relying primarily on funding from donors around the world. More information at www.afmda.org.