CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Charlotte and Huntersville firefighters say Jeff Hager was a man who made people laugh and had a strong spirit and personality.
They say he always had a smile on his face and when they got the news of his death they couldn’t believe it.
A flag outside Huntersville Fire Station Four hangs at half-staff as firefighters mourn the loss of Hager.
By phone, Bill Suthard with Huntersville Fire says right now they’re working to get through it.
“It’s weird, it’s like a big void, it’s like a big opening with him not being here, it’s palpable, you can kind of feel it more than I thought it would be,” Suthard said. “He’s a pretty, pretty big figure, always participating, always just hanging out. When he wasn’t working he stopped by when he was running errands or something.”
Since 2013, Hager worked part-time with Huntersville firefighters. He was also a 24-year veteran of the Charlotte Fire Department.
The 46-year-old passed away on Friday after battling COVID for three weeks. His wife Amee is in the hospital also battling COVID both of them were admitted on August 23rd.
“We’re going to their house daily, making sure everything’s good, checking the mail, taking the trash out, cutting the grass, doing all the stuff that they would normally be doing,” Suthard said.
It’s a battle the community is rallying behind. Neighbors and stores like Food Lion have been dropping off food and gift cards for the Hager family.
More than $52,000 has been raised by the family to help with expenses for the couple’s four kids. As the community continues to show its support firefighters are asking people for prayers.
“We can really use it some prayers, some support, and understanding. If you see a firefighter out on the street, just tell them that you’re thinking about them and you’re thinking about Jeff because there’s not a member in the area that doesn’t know who Jeff Hager was,” Suthard said.
Officials say a top priority is making sure the Hager’s four young kids are taking care of. Their ages are 14, 13, 7 and 6. Right now they’re staying with their grandparents.
For updates on Aimee’s condition and to help click here.