In honor of Woodmere resident Eric Matza, who died on May 28 at age 55, Five Towns Community Chest raised $1,800 and donated the money to Hatzalah, the volunteer medical service, to purchase an automated external defibrillator.
Community Chest presented a check to Rabbi Elozer Kanner for the new life saving equipment during a brief ceremony on June 25 at Hatzalah’s satellite headquarter at 724 West Broadway in Woodmere, which included the dedication of a memorial plaque in memory of Matza.
“Our members have only one desire, to save lives,” said Rabbi Kanner, who has been a part of Hatzalah for 25 of its 30 years. “I am in awe of the chesed [kindness] that they do behind the scenes.”
Matza’s family requested that tributes in his name be directed to either the NYU Cancer Center or to Hatzalah. The board of directors at Community Chest decided on this memorial after speaking with Robin Matza, Matza’s wife, and learning about the extraordinary care and kindness offered by Hatzalah volunteers.
Community Chest President Steven Spiro drew a comparison between Matza and a fictional movie character. “As I was thinking about Eric Matza, the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ came to mind,” he said, adding that Robin told him afterwards that her husband loved that film. “Like the main character George Bailey in the movie, Eric Matza touched so many lives.”
In addition to Robin, Matza, who worked as the vice president of Development for St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, is survived by his daughter Ariel. She is a graduate of Hewlett High School, who is attending Penn State and majoring in accounting.