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Funeral for paramedic that dies from H1N1
SANTA ROSA COUNTY -- Santa Rosa County - Family, friends, and many first responders came to honor Lifeguard Paramedic Rodney Gajewski Monday.
Family members say the paramedic died after he was infected with the H1N1 flu virus.
"My dad was my hero he did everything he could for everybody in the community," said Justin Gajewski.
Justin Gajewski stood looking at pictures of his father Rodney Gajewski or "big daddy" as his friends called him.
His dad had been in the industry for over 20 years and was well respected by his peers.
Justin says his father was infected by the virus after his step mother Kelly Gajewski contracted the H1N1 flu strain.
Rodney passed away last Sunday.
"Just to see what the sickness does and how it stresses you out, how it can totally just subdue you and take over your life and just destroy you," said Gajewski.
Rodney's sister Sheela Cooper says she remembers receiving the phone call letting her know her brother had passed.
"I though tit was a joke.. I really thought that it didn't happen.. I mean this is my baby brother," said Sheela Cooper.
Rodney's wife Kelly was taken to the University of Alabama at Birmingham for treatment.
Sheela says Kelly just recently came out of an induced coma.
But she still doesn't know her husband has died.
"I know she's missing him and I know she's wondering where he's at, but how do you tell somebody that you're sicker but he's the one who is gone," said Cooper.
Both Justin and Sheela are urging people to get vaccinated and take precautions like washing your hands and covering your mouth when you cough.
"It's important that everybody realizes that flu shots are important," said Cooper.