‘He’s not fighting this alone:’ Midway firefighter facing new battle with COVID-19

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MIDWAY, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – A central Kentucky man is used to putting himself in harm’s way to help others, and now he’s in need of help himself.

Michael Underwood is only 27, but he contracted COVID and he’s been very sick. His best friend, Chris Gardner, is trying to raise money for his care and recovery, and city leaders said there are other plans for additional help for the young man.

Underwood’s turnout gear includes a card of a firefighter’s prayer– he carried it with him when rushing into dangerous situations. But now he’s in a much different kind of fight in a Lexington hospital.

“COVID actually hit him pretty hard. Where he was hospitalized, they put him on a ventilator,” Gardner said.

Gardner said he and Underwood have been close friends for six years. Most of that time, they’ve worked together as volunteer firefighters in Midway and on the job at Toyota.

“The best thing I know is that I am here for him. We are all here. He’s not fighting this alone,” Gardner said.

Underwood did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and Gardner said seeing what has happened to his friend has given him a new appreciation for the vaccine.

“It has definitely brought more attention to myself and that anything can happen,” Gardner said.

He said everyone needs to understand how serious COVID is and to take precautions.

“Yeah, getting the vaccine, is what I would encourage. It does help, from what I have been told from the hospital, talking to the nurses and things,” Gardner said.

He says Underwood is doing better.

“He was supposed to come off his ventilator today and the tube was to come out,” Gardner said.

Midway’s mayor said they’re working on something to help Underwood. There’s also a GoFundMe set up by Gardner. You can find that by clicking here.

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