In the News

Ocean County Health Department Presentation on First Responders at CHEMED
June 30, 2014

Sarri Singer, native of Lakewood, NJ, and daughter of State Senator Robert Singer (R – 30th District), is the Founder and Director of Strength to Strength, a nonprofit organization based in New York City established to bring survivors of terrorism and their families together globally to heal from their ordeal. Sarri spoke of her experiences at the Center for Health, Education, Medicine and Dentistry (CHEMED). On June 11, 2003, when Sarri was a passenger on the No. 14 bus in Jerusalem, a suicide bomber blew himself up, murdering 16 innocent people and maiming many others. Sarri shared how this experience changed her life forever and also the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, which can affect a person immediately after an incident or later on in a person’s life. The program also focused on the critical role of first responders in emergencies. She discussed the different roles that first responders take on, their role at the scene of an attack, and how important their role is to the victims in a situation. She also pointed out how important it is for first responders to take care of their own needs in order to be effective in their job. Sarri also discussed the short and long term needs of victims. She discussed what Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is; its symptoms and how individuals may react and how they may be helped and also discussed the long-term psychological needs of victims in their families.

The program was sponsored by the Ocean County Health Department and the CHEMED. Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator, said, “This is the second time we have had Sarri speak at an event. Each time I have heard her speak, I am amazed at her strength and how she has turned this experience into something positive that can help so many others. The one thing that Sarri mentioned that I keep remembering, which is actually a reflection on the culture in Israel, was when the bomb actually went off, instead of people running from the carnage, people ran to the bus, from blocks away, to see if they could help in any way. She added that the father of a young man, a total stranger, that was standing near her on the bus found her in the hospital as his son wanted to make sure she was okay.”

Sarri was not okay with damage to her eardrums and broken bones, but she was one of the lucky ones on that bus. Her parents brought her home to heal but Sarri felt the need to return to Jerusalem. Although Sarri now lives in Manhattan and uses the bus system as her main transportation, this past winter was the first time she was able to get on a bus in Jerusalem, actually bus No. 14. It took her nine long years to be able to do that but her message to the terrorists is that they have not stopped her and she herself has won this battle. Sarri returns to Jerusalem every year and visits the hospital and nurses who cared for her, which has also helped her heal.

Sarri realized that she could turn her personal experience into something that could help other people. Sarri founded Strength to Strength, an organization which is dedicated to assisting victims of terror across the globe by supporting them and bringing them together to overcome long lasting psychological and physical trauma and help move forward with their lives.

Sarri’s life is busy helping other survivors with a similar experience. She has offered to assist any American victim of terror who needs support.

Dovid Freidman, MD, Director of the CHEMED, said that Sarri is an inspiration to all of us. He stated, “To take an experience such as Sarri’s and turn it into such an amazing program as Strength to Strength, which can begin the healing process for person’s who have experienced similar types of terror, is incredible. She is a remarkable, well-spoken young woman who inspired and touched all of us who attended this program.”

From Sarri Singer’s The Gift of a Second Chance, she said, “Life is filled with uncertainty, with things that are scary, with challenges the size of mountains, and with days you just don’t know how you will get through. But life is also filled with strangers who will pull you out of a burning bus and who will hold you while you cry. These are people you have known your whole life and people you never met, who will cross oceans and deserts for you. My life has been filled with both, and it is the combination of the two that reminds me daily that I am alive, and my work is not yet complete. “

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