A Lake City firefighter was welcomed home after battling COVID since August

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST
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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) - Since August two Lake City firefighters, Lieutenant Jeff McNeill and Chief Randy Burnham were fighting for their lives because of COVID, but in September Burnham lost that battle.

McNeil spent 83 days at UF Health Shands fighting the virus and was later moved to Jacksonville for rehab.

“When I arrived I was unable to stand, walk, get dressed, or anything. Now I’m standing, walking, and talking,” said McNeill.

This was a moment friend and Lake City firefighter Austin Thomas won’t soon forget.

“For him to come through these bays and to be able to walk up and hug us it means the world to us. Honestly, it will be something I and the rest of us will be emotional about for who knows how long,” said Thomas.

McNeill added his family and prayers from everyone kept him fighting.

“The lord above, all the prayers I got from across the country from east coast to west coast. My family was with me every single day and never missed a day. That was one of the main reasons that kept me motivated and kept me fighting.”

When McNeill was asked what was the first thing he’ll do when he got home this was his response. “

Probably the first thing I’ll do is get in my recliner. I’ve been laid up in a hospital bed for over four months.”

McNeill said even though he’s retired he’ll keep in touch with all his firefighter buddies that encouraged him to fight.

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