Dror is 35 years old and truly an Israeli hero. He was born in the Holy Land after his parent's family escaped the Holocaust and was instilled with deep Jewish values that he holds dear to this day. The Jewish State of Israel was always looked at as fulfillment of prophecy by Dror's family, and he never took his homeland for granted. From a young age, when people would ask Dror what he aspired to be, he would immediately answer "a soldier in the Israeli army that protects God's Promised Land."
After excelling in high school and graduating with a nearly perfect average, Dror went on to follow his dream. He trained for nearly a year until he was finally accepted into one of the most elite units in the Israeli army. "Each time I nearly gave up," Dror explains, "I would simply think about all of the terrorists that want to kill Jewish people, and that would provide me with the motivation that I needed to continue the grueling training. It was physically and mentally challenging, yet I left my three years of army service with the ability to protect my people." During Dror's three years of army service, he conducted secret operations to capture terrorists, monitored the violent border with Gaza, and trained new Israeli soldiers. "I felt complete in what I accomplished in the army and knew that I served my country well," Dror told me.
After graduating from the army, Dror got married, had a baby boy, and began University. 'My life was so beautiful and it felt like I was living my dream. Then the terrorist attack happened and turned my life upside down." As Dror was sitting in a café with his wife and child, he heard gunshots outside and immediately ran towards where the sound was coming from. He was the first person with a weapon on the scene and instantly shot the terrorist dead, saving countless lives. He felt proud of saving so many people, but the thought of his wife and child being so close to a terrorist attack was terrifying. He saw dead bodies lying on the street and innocent Israeli victims fall prey to another terrorist. Dror was traumatized.
In the months following the attack, Dror fell into deep depression, suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and was unable to function. The Israeli government paid to send him to counseling, yet it was not helping Dror recover. His wife moved out of the house and took their child with her. It pained Dror that although he was proud to have saved innocent Israeli lives in the terrorist attack, it felt like his life ended there. Just as Dror was beginning to feel hopeless, he heard about a program funded by The Fellowship's Guardians of Israel program called Etgarim.
Etgarim is an alternative therapy that has proven to be effective in treating PTSD in soldiers. It teaches them to sail, while dealing with their emotions. "Just as the sailboat is controlled by the wind that is real, yet unable to be seen, so too are my crippling emotions," Dror reflected. "By learning to work with the wind to control the boat, I learned to work with my emotions to control my life."
Just a few months after beginning Etgarim, Dror's life is back on track. "The Fellowship-sponsored Etgarim program is a place I can go where people understand me and truly help my recovery. I am not judged there, but simply provided with the help that I need. If it weren't for The Fellowship and Etgarim I would be hopeless, depressed, and would have nowhere to turn. The Fellowship truly gave me my life back — I feel like a hero that deserves a good life. Thank you so much."