Comfort my people: US firefighters answer a call from Israel

American and Israeli firefighters posing for photographs after returning from a call in Jerusalem, Nov. 27, 2016. (Courtesy of Emergency Volunteers Program)

The Prophet Isaiah inspired at least one Christian American volunteer to come to Israel during the Thanksgiving holiday to assist Israeli firefighters in extinguishing hundreds of fires that raged last week around the country.

Billy Hirth, Chief of Operations of the Emergency Volunteers Program (EVP), USA, was one of several volunteers who recently came to Israel from America, many of whom are Christians and feel called to stand with Israel. Hirth credited Isaiah 40 as his inspiration for lending a hand.

“From the very beginning, I believe that God commands us to stand by them, that we’re to be an advocate for Israel – love them,” Hirth told CBN News in a story by Chris Mitchell. “My first trip here I was given a word, a prophetic word, [from] Isaiah 40: ‘Comfort My people.’ So it means everything to be part of their lives.”

As most Israelis know by now, the EVP (a program authorized by the Israeli government which “trains and brings emergency first-responders…to Israel”) reached out to America on Thanksgiving Day, asking for and quickly receiving numerous elite firefighting volunteers and a prodigious 747 supertanker, the largest firefighting aircraft in the world.

Billy Hirth
Billy Hirth (Courtesy Emergency Volunteers Project)

“Probably within six hours we had 39 people ready to go,” Hirth, told CBN News.

Hirth was not the only American firefighter apparently driven by inspiration. One of his peers who joined him on the mission said goodbye to his new fiancee shortly after proposing.

“We’ve been doing wedding planning over the phone,” a smiling Benjamin Arnold of the L.A. County Fire Department told CBN News.

The supertanker landed in Israel the next evening to assist with extinguishing fires, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“When (firefighters) hear about a situation like this one, where the Israelis are working as hard as they can, they want to come help,” said Hirth, a retired firefighter from Texas. “It’s a brotherhood. Firemen are firemen.”