Phoenix retired firefighter hospitalized by COVID-19 while on vacation

PHOENIX – A family from Vale is begging for prayers and good behavior while a beloved member of them is fighting the coronavirus.

“Especially during the holiday season, you just don’t expect it to happen to you or your family and then you get the call, letting them know that someone you love and care about is in the hospital,” said Amanda O “Brien.

Amanda’s grandfather, Wayne Means, 70, has always been a hero. From telling a joke at the right time, to risking your life for years as a Phoenix fireman.

“He sent the fire truck through our school so that the other children could learn the importance of safety and do seminars on the fire escape from their home if the smoke detector went off,” said O’Brien.

On December 9, the retired firefighter at Station 48 fell ill, soon testing positive for the coronavirus. Now in Mayo, his condition continued to fluctuate after a virtual birthday party in his hospital bed.

“We are finally back to the point where he possibly needs a fan again,” said O’Brien.

Everything is happening as hospitals continue to reach maximum capacity, with COVID patients now representing more than 50% of all patients in the state, according to available data.

“One of the reasons we are seeing this dramatic increase in the state is that it is spreading from house to house because of small meetings,” said Dr. Joshua LeBaer.

Dr. Joshua LeBaer of the ASU Biodesign Institute received the vaccine on Tuesday. Dr. LeBaer is in group 1A because he works in close contact with the public at the test sites. As a leading voice in combating state data, he says it is critical that people limit meetings over the holidays with hospitals at a critical point.

“This is how these things multiply very quickly and therefore the idea behind staying inside your own home is that it cannot spread from one house to another and from that house to another house,” said Dr. LeBaer.

However, they are also stories of families like Means who must continue to motivate all of us to present each other with good and even more importantly, responsible behavior.

“You just can’t imagine them without being home for the holidays or being able to leave gifts out and about,” said O’Brien through tears. “If your test is positive, take the appropriate steps and everyone do their part so that we can get through this stage and have my grandfather in his thoughts and prayers, my family really thanks you.”