MAYVILLE — An Air Force veteran and EMT passed away last week after family says he fought a weeks-long battle with COVID-19.
Daniel "DJ" McCann, Jr., was 45 years old and lived in Mayville.
"He was an amazing young man," his mother, Christine McCann, said. "He loved dearly, he loved thoroughly. As Shannon said, he wore his heart on his sleeve."
Family says DJ was recovering from shoulder surgery when he tested positive for Covid-19. He went to the hospital on Sept. 7. He died on Thursday surrounded by family.
"He fought a really hard fight, he gave it his best, he gave it his all," DJ's sister, Shannon Walowski.
DJ served two tours overseas, spent 13 years in service to Kenosha County, and most recently worked as an EMT.
He loved to hunt and ride his motorcycle. Family says more than 100 people showed up to ride in a benefit for him.
"He didn’t ever really feel like he fit somewhere, and he became part of the U.S. Military Veterans Motorcycle Club," Walowski said. "And he belonged, he fit somewhere."
Family says DJ has three children of his own. He recently got engaged to his fiance, Jennipher. Together they bought a house and took in two boys from tough circumstances. Jennipher told TMJ4 News DJ was a father to her own children, and she said DJ is, "the best man I know."
"When he has met a brother who is depressed, or sad, or going through a divorce, or having survived a death or something, DJ always had a way of, which I think his sister has the same trait, helping somebody get through it," McCann said.
"When one of his buddies was around, he was like, 'Do you know what your brother did for me? Do you know what your brother is to me? He basically saved my life,'" Walowski said.
Both McCann and Walowski are nurses, and they say DJ was just about to get vaccinated before he fell ill.
"I’ve sat with with patients who have died, I've sat with family members, it wasn't the same when it’s yours," Walowski said.
DJ's corneas will be donated to a child to help them see, and that's the kind of thing McCann and Walowski want people to remember DJ by.
"It’s so real, and it hurts so much, and I just want the hurt to not be so sharp," Walowski said.
DJ's service will be held at Max A. Sass & Sons funeral home in South Milwaukee on Nov. 6. Family expects up to 500 people could visit.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the family here.