Man dies after saving 2 children from drowning at Florida beach

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CHICAGO (WGN) — A man in Illinois died Sunday while trying to save two children from drowning at a Florida beach.

Pete Rosengren, a vice president of sales and digital strategy at the Daily Herald in Illinois, 42,was a married father of three.

According to the Herald, Rosengren, of Batavia, had been vacationing with his family near Miramar Beach in Florida.

Pete Rosengren pictured with his wife Maura and three sons. (Courtesy photo from family)

Nexstar-affiliate WMBB reported that South Walton Fire District units responded around 10:15 a.m. Sunday.

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 instance, a Texas man died March 17 while trying to help children 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.”

Pete Rosengren pictured with his three sons. (Courtesy photos from family)

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 that 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 Petes putting others in front of themselves,” Shaker said. “He’s a true hero.”

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