November 15, 2006
Local Ambulance Company Makes Dream Come True
At 17 years of age, Sabri Omar was forced to flee his native Ethiopia when a military coup overtook the country. He sought refuge in Dibouti for three years until the United Nations came to his aid and brought him to the United States.
At 20 years old he started high school, found a job, married and had a family. In 1996, Sabri bought a business and made it a success. He recently took some of the money he earned and returned to the city of Harer in Ethiopia and built a 45-bed medical center named The Ya-Mage — meaning hope — that is now serving half a million people in his hometown. However, his dream wasn't complete. He needed an ambulance. Sabri stated, "When you get sick, you want to get to the hospital as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible and one of the things we desperately need is an ambulance. There is absolutely no ambulance in the city of Harer."
Local news reporter Bill Liss with 11Alive News set out to find Sabri an ambulance and found Pete Quinones, President/CEO of MetroAtlanta Ambulance in Cobb County willing to make the dream come true.
Mr. Omar was surprised by Bill Liss when Metro Atlanta Ambulance executive Mike Jernigan drove the ambulance around the corner at 11Alive studios in Atlanta and handed him the keys.
"We are out helping people everyday, and to see people like you making sacrifices to help people back in your country is just really heartwarming," Jernigan said. "It reminds us of why we are here everyday. On behalf of our President/CEO Pete Quinones and the entire MetroAtlanta Ambulance family I want you to have this ambulance and put it to good use for the people in Harer."
Omar excitedly thanked Jernigan. "This will be a first for our city, so I am really excited! I really appreciate it. I really don't know how to express myself, but I really appreciate it."
MetroAtlanta Ambulance serves as the 9-1-1-ambulance provider for the citizens of Cobb County and was recently named by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce as the 2006 Small Business of the Year.