Pinehurst, North Carolina – Hundreds of community members gathered for a barbecue Thursday to raise money for a Moore County firefighter fighting COVID-19.
John Wilson, who works for the fire departments in Southern Pines, Aberdeen and Pinebluff, was recently released from the ICU after battling the coronavirus for more than a month.
Wilson, who tested positive for coronavirus on January 7 before spending more than 40 days in the ICU, is making progress but still has a long road to recovery.
All money raised during Thursday’s fundraiser at Pinehurst Surgical Clinic will go directly to Wilson’s family to pay for his medical bills.
About 1,000 people showed up to support the Wilson family.
Wilson, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 240 pounds, is affectionately referred to by Southern Pines residents as “Big John.”
His wife, Jessica Wilson, said that aside from his high blood pressure, Wilson was a healthy man before contracting COVID-19. During his time in the ICU, Wilson suffered blood clots in his lungs. He was heavily sedated for weeks and lost 45 pounds before being discharged from the ICU on February 25.
Bryan Mims, WRAL reporter, contributed to this report.