CHICAGO – Pete Rosengren, vice president of sales and digital strategy for Daily Herald, died Sunday while trying to rescue two children from drowning in a Florida beach.
Rosengren, a married father of three, was 42.
According to the news outlet, Rosengren, of Batavia, had been vacationing with his family near Miramar Beach in Florida.
Nexstar-affiliate WMBB reports that South Walton Fire District units responded to the 100 block Monaco Street in Miramar Beach around 10:15 Sunday morning.
South Walton Fire District Fire & Rescue pulled Rosengren and two children from the water. Rosengren was transported to the hospital in critical condition and later died.
At the time, double red flags were raised on the beach, indicating conditions were so dangerous that the Gulf was closed to swimmers.
“There were children that needed assistance,” said Rosengren’s best friend, Joe Shaker. “He went without hesitation into the water and saved these children. Unfortunately, his life was not saved.”
The two children, whom by all accounts Rosengren did not know, survived.
Florida fire officials report nine water rescues have occurred on Miramar Beach since Thursday. In a similar situation, a Texas man died March 17, trying to help kids stuck in a rip current.
“When the little boy was coming out of the water, he was screaming ‘help.’ He noticed the man went into the water,” said Lindsey Darby, spokesperson for Walton County Florida Sheriff’s Office.
Shaker spoke with WGN about his friendship with Rosengren.
“He was one-in-a-million,” Shaker said. “Pete was your definition of just a best friend, always putting others in front of himself.”
Following the news of Rosengren’s passing, Scott Stone, president of The Daily Herald Media Group, said in a statement: “Pete was always there for others. Employees, peers, family and friends. That was his DNA. Pete had an oversized personality, quick wit, humor and unique compassion for others. It’s no surprise his final minute was spent helping others.”
Rosengren started as an intern at the Daily Herald upon graduating from Carthage College. Friends and fraternity brothers at Delta Omega Nu described Rosengren as always having a huge heart and helping hand.
It was at Carthage where Rosengren also met his wife, Maura.
“She was the love of his life and his three boys meant the world to him,” Shaker said. “He was an avid coach too. I would say he loved getting on the baseball field with his sons.”
Rosengren is remembered by friends as a dedicated family man who died making the ultimate sacrifice.
“The world needs more Pete’s putting others in front of themselves,” Shaker said. “He’s a true hero.”