By Stephanie Smith
For the one who worked selflessly to save the lives of others as an EMT and a firefighter, his own journey was cut short by losing a hard fought battle with cancer. In April 2017, Michael Kreitman, 52, died peacefully surrounded by his family in Louisville.
At the time of his death, Michael was a captain with Louisville Metro EMS and a member of the Keneseth Israel Synagogue where he was very active.
In his memory, his family donated to the JCC Capital Campaign and, thanks to their gift and that of some 500 others, the Trager Family Jewish Community Center opened its doors last April.
Michael’s father, Sonny, says, “It’s not about us, it’s about Michael and his legacy of unwavering care and service to others.”
Sonny recalls when Stacy Gordon-Funk, Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, arranged for he and his daughter-in-law, Carla Kreitman, to come to the JCC to see the plaque that fittingly hangs next to the security office in Michael’s honor. “I knew what was going to happen that day, but it was a total surprise to Carla – she was taken aback and grateful.”
Carla says, “I was overwhelmed when I saw the plaque. It is such a wonderful tribute to my husband who loved helping and connecting with others.”
More than 500 people attended Michael’s funeral including members of the Jewish community, his fellow first responders and many others. So loved by those he served, Michael was featured in a news story on WHAS 11 where he said he was the luckiest guy in the world by having a good family and the people he worked with in his life. He said that cancer just happened to be part of it.
In the interview, Michael said he was humbled by the outpouring of support he and his family received. The station even partnered with his loved ones to host a fundraiser in his honor.
Sonny encourages others to give generously to the JCC and the
Jewish Federation of Louisville, “It’s a double Mitzvah to donate in memory of someone you love.”
Carla concludes, “The JCC offers vital services and acts as community builder. Donations support this most important work.”