MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A month-long summer program landed 17-year-old Benjamin Mendelson in Israel this July.
The Memphis teen, who enjoys playing sports, was a part of the NCSY Hatzalah Rescue program.
The camp, which was made up of 29 teens from across the country, focused on teaching teens life-saving procedures and brought them into the field for ambulance crew ride-alongs.
“These teenagers are super special. Ben being one of them,” said Program Director Marc Zharnest. “Most of their friends and most of their peers are running away and they’re willing to run into danger.”
On July 16, which also happened to be Mendelson’s birthday, he and a fellow camper did just that.
"We get there and I immediately switch in and start taking over compressions for one of the other volunteers who had just finished his two minutes,” Mendelson told WMC Action News 5.
The ambulance crew, Mendelson and the other teen were shadowing, was dispatched to a scene. When they got there, both teens joined the compression rotation on an 80-year-old man.
Mendelson said he didn’t hesitate to help because everything he’d learned kicked in.
"It was like, ‘go,’ and it was just following commands then,” said Mendelson.
Crews lost and regained the patient’s pulse two times before he finally returned. He survived and was taken to the hospital. Mendelson was later awarded a “Life Saved” medallion by United Hatzalah of Israel, which is one of Israel’s leading Emergency Medical Services agencies.
The medallion reads, 'He who saves a single life saves the entire world.' The medallion was given to the teens for their first saves.
"It’s kind of crazy. It’s amazing to think about,” said Mendelson. "It’s made me want to go into the medical field. It’s made me realize that anything could happen at any time.”
"After the summer when we show them the value of a life and how on the inside we’re all the same their outlook is completely different,” said Zharnest.