Tucson peace officer’s trip bolsters regional bond with Israel

Israel’s intelligence community told a cohort of volunteer first responders that it is most concerned about a new war with Syria, says Jay Korza, a sergeant with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. If that threat materializes, Korza will be there to help.

Korza traveled to Israel this summer to take part in the Emergency Volunteers Project, which trains American firefighters and first responders to assist during a national emergency. Since its founding, the program has trained 1,000 emergency workers, including 39 American firefighters — several from Southern Arizona — deployed to Israel during 2016’s operation “Water and Fire.”

Korza, 44, is a 17-year veteran with the sheriff’s department. For the last decade, he has been a member of the Pima Regional SWAT team, where one of his duties is serving as a Tactical EMS medic. He also teaches paramedic training courses for Pima Community College’s Paramedic Associate of Applied Science program.   

He heard about the EVP initiative through a coworker, and he and his wife decided to check out an informational seminar last year hosted by the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

If Korza is ever deployed by EVP, he’ll be able to perform the same level of patient care he enjoyed as a corpsman, a fact that ultimately sold him on the program. Although Korza’s wife does not want him entering a war zone, he may utilize his negotiating skills in hopes of working alongside the Israel Defense Forces.

“If an IDF ambulance shows up at the hospital, I’m probably going to be on it when they go back out,” Korza says with a laugh.

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here. Originally published on Dec. 15, 2017.

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