The community is rallying behind an Upstate firefighter battling a rare infection.
Kevin Holtzclaw’s helmet and gear have sat unused in his locker at the Greer Fire Department for almost 3 months.
At a check-up in February, doctors found Necrotizing Fascitis, commonly known as the flesh-eating bacteria, on his leg.
The infection destroyed many layers of tissue and muscles in Holtzclaw’s leg. The bacteria also entered his bloodstream sending him into septic shock and causing his kidney’s to fail.
“It was a shocker,” said David Holtzclaw, Kevin’s brother.
How Holtzclaw got the bacteria is still a mystery.
“He’s very fortunate. He knows he very fortunate to be alive,” David Holtzclaw told 7News.
The longtime firefighter was forced to put his passion on the back burner until he’s back in good health.
“Kevin has been a staple in the Greer Fire Department for the past 25 years and it hurts us to see him hurting,” said Joshua Holzheimer, Greer Deputy Fire Chief.
That’s when Greer firefighters decided to come to the aid of one of their own. On Friday, they hosted a blood drive in Holtzclaw’s honor and sold t-shirts to raise money for medical expenses.
The blood drive will help replace the countless units of blood doctors used for Holtzclaw in the 13 surgeries he’s had since being diagnosed.
“Our goal is to get him back to work,” said Drew Holleman, of the Greer Fire Department. “It’s an empty void that we got here right now, and we are just ready to get him back and get him healthy.”
Firefighters say it’s the least they can do for someone who has dedicated his life to serving Greer.
Plus it doesn’t hurt that the support is making headlines and lifting the hometown hero’s spirits while he is recovering.
“Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers,” said Holzheimer. “Any encouraging things we can say to Kevin because I know he will [be] watching this later he’s really excited about the news coverage, tell him just to keep fighting and we can’t wait for him to get back to work.”
If you missed the blood drive you can still help by making a donation on Holtzclaw’s GoFundMe.