ROCKLIN, Calif. (KTXL) – The Mountain Warfare Fire Department and the Northern California firefighter community are celebrating the life of one of their own who was lost after contracting COVID-19.
Fire officials say firefighter and paramedic Matthew Rominger of Roseville died after being exposed to the virus while riding in the back of an ambulance with someone he was helping.
Several dozen firefighters, including those from out of state, came to honor the fallen firefighter.
Affectionately nicknamed Bear, family and coworkers say Rominger’s life was all about a life of service for his community.
He first served as a California Highway Patrol officer and later as a firefighter and paramedic.
“He was big fun. He was physically a big dude. And he was big help. He mentored people. He made the day better. I’m really going to miss serving with him,” recalled Chaplain Lawson “Gus” Stuart of the Mountain Warfare Fire Department
“Today, we remember a man who laid down his life, not just for his family and those who he loved, but for the unloved, the needy, the hurting ones,” said Rev. Father Seraphim Ivey during Rominger’s eulogy.
Rominger leaves behind his wife of 26 years. They had four children.
“From a very young age, I knew my dad was a hero. Not only was he a hero to our family, but he was also a hero within the community. My father always led by example and he demonstrated the importance of serving a community and serving God. I love you dad and you’re still with me. And your memory’s eternal,” said Gabriella Rominger.
Stuart says last year, was perhaps the biggest call for service first responders rose to answer, despite the threat of the pandemic.
“In Bear’s case, ultimately fall to it, it’s the noblest of sacrifices,” Stuart said.
After the bells rang to signify the end of Rominger’s watch, dispatch also put out his final call for service:
Mono County dispatch to firefighter/paramedic Matthew Rominger. Please have a moment of silence to show no answer. All agencies dispatched by Mono County. There is no response. This is the last of our assignments for Mountain Warfare Department firefighter/paramedic Matthew Michael Rominger.
Firefigher/paramedic Rominger answered his last alarm May 16th, 2021, at the age of 48. He served in public safety as a law enforcement officer, paramedic, and firefighter for 30 years. Grateful for the service that firefighter/paramedic Rominger. He will be missed.
You are relieved. Your watch is over. Rest in peace.