“You are the kind of soldier we want to have here in our airbase”, said Colonel Kobi Davidson, the Commander of the IAF Technical Airbase, to Staff Sergeant Alexander Odesski who volunteered in the IAF despite using a wheelchair and currently serves as a computer network manager. He helps other soldiers to fix computer problems and does that wholeheartedly.
When he was still a high school student, Alexander found out that he could not join the army following his disability. He did not know that he has the option to volunteer and spent many years disappointed for not being able to serve in the border guards’ forces like his father or in the IAF like his older sister.
After graduating, Alexander started working and studying. Only After watching a 2009 TV report about a wheelchair-bound soldier in the IDF, did Alexander realize he could volunteer in the army. At the instant Alexander decided to contact this soldier and search for ways in which he could volunteer as well.
“The journey was long and involved over a year of dealing with bureaucracy”, says Staff Sergeant Alexander. “I went through the whole process, went to the recruiting station and passed all the tests. I was focused on drafting in the IAF”.
“We want to take Alexander’s story and duplicate it”
Alexander holds strong opinions about volunteering. At first he was approved to serve for a year and a half and later requested to extend his service for another year a half.
“I think every person in the country ought to serve a full-time service. Disables people can also contribute to the military forces”, emphasizes Staff Sergeant Alexander. “Even the smallest position holds a great contribution. We are a united nation in which the disabled are not neglected”.
Alexander and his commander, Major Nadav Kasher, have a special bond. Major Nadav assisted Alexander with every application he sent and accompanies him from the day he got to the airbase.
“Alexander was chosen as excelling soldier in his airbase and was nominated for the excelling soldiers’ presidential award”, said Major Nadav. “I’m proud to be his commander, his level of modesty is amazing and I’m very inspired by him. In addition to his contribution to the IAF, the IAF gives back by helping him integrate into society and providing him with a profession he enjoys dealing with”.
The Technical Airbase in Haifa trains thousands of technicians a year in 101 different technological fields. One of the goals of the airbase is to extend to number of volunteers.
“We want to take Alexander’s story and duplicate it”, says Colonel Kobi Davidson. “We could make our airbase a home for IAF volunteers. Alexander helps us more than we help him and the same goes for the rest of our volunteers”.