More than 50 Friends of the IDF (FIDF) supporters, most of them parents of Lone Soldiers, gathered at the home of David and Sigal Byrnes in Los Angeles on April 16th to support each other and to honor the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Search and Rescue Brigade, a highly skilled force trained to execute special search and rescue missions both in Israel and abroad.
The Kedem Battalion is a unit of the Brigade under which Talia Byrnes, daughter of David and Sigal, serves as a commander. Talia has been serving in the IDF for the past 18 months. She currently guards the West Bank and commands combat soldiers in training when not performing search and rescue duties.
“David and I could not be prouder of the courageous decision Talia made to leave her home, family, and community to join the IDF as a Lone Soldier. As difficult as it is for us as parents of a Lone Soldier, we know that Talia, as a commander in Kedem, is making a tremendous difference in the lives of those living in Israel and all over the world who have experienced unfathomable disasters and rely on their life-saving humanitarian aid. It’s an honor to share our daughter with the world.”
The Search and Rescue Brigade has played a critical role in 34 major humanitarian missions after disasters have struck, including most recently, the devastating earthquake in Turkey in February, where the unit rescued 19 people. The brigade is an FIDF-adopted unit and receives multi-faceted support from FIDF, including funds dedicated to both their financial welfare and their emotional well-being. They also benefit from direct connections to donors in the United States which greatly boosts morale, as soldiers feel support from across oceans.
Among the event speakers were Fred Gluckman, FIDF National Chairman, and Mikey Michalov, FIDF Western Region Board Member.
“The outpouring of support from the FIDF Los Angeles community for Talia, a Lone Soldier from our very community, and her fellow soldiers, is a testament of the enduring bond that transcends borders, among Jews around the world,” said FIDF Board Chairman Fred Gluckman. “Standing together, united as One FIDF in support of the IDF and our courageous soldiers, enables us to build a community strong in its commitment to the safety and well-being of the Jewish people, and the flourishing of our homeland.”