‘He’s a fighter’: Smyrna’s new beach community rallies behind injured firefighter

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL. – The community of New Smyrna Beach is supporting an injured firefighter who is recovering from traumatic injuries in a workplace accident.

Authorities said firefighter Jeremy Macklefresh was injured in an accident last month. He was on duty behind the wheel of an emergency response vehicle when the accident occurred. It is not known what caused the crash, officials said.

Macklefresh’s stepfather Mark Gutowski said he remembered getting the call from his daughter, Kimberly Macklefresh. She told him he was rushed to the Halifax hospital.

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“It was Kimberly saying that Jeremy had a freak accident and was going to the emergency room,” Gutowski said.

Macklefresh, also known as Cubby, was seriously injured in the crash. Gutowski said doctors repeatedly told them he was not going to be okay.

“He’s a fighter. Four times they ruled him out and four times he came back, ”Gutowski said. “He’s up there, he’s fighting for his life. He fights for his wife. He is fighting for his two boys.

Macklefresh and his wife have two sons, Jeden, 2, and Jaxon, 6 months.

His family of firefighters and the community are now fighting for Macklefresh. After the accident, they held a prayer vigil outside the hospital. Firefighters also sell #CubbyStrong shirts, bracelets and neck warmers.

The fire department is also holding a Saturday fundraiser at the Lost Lagoon to raise money to help pay for his medical bills. The event features a cornhole tournament, 50/50 raffle, silent auction and live music.

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Adam Sarwi, of NSB Professional Firefighters Local 2271, said the fire department was doing everything possible to support Macklefresh and his family.

“He’s one of us and there is a certain brotherhood within the fire brigade so we want to do whatever we can,” said Sarwi.

Sarwi adds that they are grateful that the community is getting results to help one of their own.

“The very essence of the job is to give the community, to be there a time of need, to be there to be what they need, when they need it,” Sarwi said. so it’s amazing to see the community showing some likes.

Gutowski said Macklefresh is improving every day and may be out of the ICU soon. He adds that the outpouring of support will help him on his long road to recovery.

“I know it would also be Jeremy’s dream to be back in those fire stations, wearing this gear and helping his community,” said Gutowski.

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Saturday’s fundraiser at Lost Lagoon begins at 11 a.m. The restaurant is located at 2004 N. Dixie Fwy in New Smyrna Beach.

The Fire Union is also accepting donations through Venmo at @ Local2271.

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