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Elwood firefighter dies after hard-fought battle with COVID-19

Mark Gillam was a 31-year veteran of the Elwood Fire Department. Prior to becoming a firefighter, he served in the United States Marine Corps.

ELWOOD, Ind — First responders in Elwood, Indiana, are mourning the loss of a firefighter who died after contracting coronavirus, presumably in the line of duty, according to a Sunday announcement.  

Mark Gillam, 58, was a 31-year veteran of the Elwood Fire Department. The Elwood Firefighters Local 1671 announced Sunday Gillam had died after a long battle with COVID-19. 

"After a lengthy and hard-fought battle, Brother Gillam today succumbed to the damage inflicted on his body by this virus," the union said in a social media post. 

Gilliam started experiencing mild COVID-like symptoms in late August. After testing positive, his symptoms remained mild for about a week. 

By Aug. 30, his symptoms had increased in severity and he was hospitalized. Gillam was placed on a ventilator on Sept. 8 and put into a medically-induced coma to allow his body to rest and heal, according to the union. 

Gillam was surrounded by family and friends when he died Sunday. 

"Please hold your loved ones a little tighter this evening and pray for our fallen Brother and his family," the post said. 

Gillam spent his entire adult life as a public servant. Before becoming a firefighter, he served in the United States Marine Corps. He had been employed by the city of Elwood for 31 years. Gillam was also an active volunteer for multiple organizations, a youth coach and a local business owner.

The union thanked the community for its outpouring of support and asked the community to continue banding together in the coming days and weeks saying, "it means more than you know."

Arrangements to honor Gillam and funeral services are pending, according to the post.