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Santa Rosa Co paramedic dies from apparent flu symptoms
SANTA ROSA COUNTY -- A Lifeguard Ambulance Service paramedic is dead after experiencing flu like symptoms.
Published reports say Rodney Gajewski was infected with the H1N1 virus.
But the state says it's a non reportable illness in adults.
Many people through out the community are mourning his death.
"The flag is flying half staff outside Lifeguard Ambulance Services in Santa Rosa County they've already placed a memorial on the back of one of their ambulances remembering Rodney Gajewski."
Rodney had been absent from work for 2-weeks. Sunday night he passed away.
Many of his co-workers were in disbelief.
Joshua Spencer "You know everyone is obviously sad and their mourning, but at the same time we know what he would want and that is for us to stand up straight and go do our job and do it well."
Rodney had worked in Santa Rosa for 2-and a half years, but had been in the industry for over 20..
"The biggest compliment one paramedic can give to another is if something happened to me or my family I hope I look up to see you there and I'm sure Rodney has heard that on numerous occasions."
Joshua Spencer not only worked with Rodney but they were also friends...
He says losing Rodney was a big hit to the department.
"He would absolutely do anything for anyone..he never met a stranger and he got the nickname "Big Daddy" for a reason he loved to call everyone "Big Daddy" he was just a big teddy bear."
Tyler Bennet says Rodney will be greatly missed and thought of him as a mentor.
Tyler Bennett "I remember calling him on the phone at 3:00 in the morning and him answering and saying you got this one big daddy."
Rodney's wife was also experiencing flu like symptoms and was flown by medical helicopter to Birmingham..
Her condition is unknown .
"A funeral service will be held Monday from 12 to 2 at Calvary Chapel Church in Santa Rosa County."