Md. Firefighter, Teacher Heads to Israel to Volunteer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    News 4's Zachary Kiesch reports on a Maryland volunteer firefighter who is in Israel with a group that's filling in for emergency responders called to the front lines in the ongoing battle. (Published Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014)

    A volunteer firefighter from the D.C. area has put his life in danger again, this time in Israel.

    Robert Katz has been in the first responder business since he was 16 years old. He's now a teacher at University of Maryland and lives in Rockville, but he packed his bags and left for Israel last weekend when he saw the situation there escalate.

    "I look for any opportunity to make a difference," Katz said. 

    Political tensions have been brewing in the Middle East for hundreds of years, and Katz said he's aware it won't be resolved overnight. In the meantime, he's willing to protect anyone regardless of their affiliation.

    "It doesn't matter the religion of the person we're saving," Katz said. 

    He's stationed inside the southern border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, leading a group of 13 firefighters from the U.S. Katz said they'll be replacing firefighters or their counterparts, but will not be acting as soldiers.