By Juli McDonald

PLAINVILLE (CBS) – Flashing lights and blaring sirens pulled through Plainville Tuesday. But it isn’t your typical socially distant pandemic parade; this show was for one of their own.

“After coming home and seeing all the people, it was a little overwhelming. Open arms and a lot of love,” said Brett Bertram.

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EMT and firefighter Brett Bertram is finally home after a battle with COVID-19. The 23-year-old was intubated for nearly two weeks in Boston. The team at Brigham and Women’s saved his life. Brett had decided against an early vaccine as a first responder, not wanting to take one from a person who is sick or elderly. He thought he was doing the right thing.

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“When you make the choice to be an EMT or firefighter you make the choice to put someone else’s life before yours,” he said.

But Brett can’t take care of others, if he’s not okay himself. This frightening experience has opened his eyes to the reality of COVID.

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“It definitely is a real thing and it’s serious,” Brett said. “People should take it seriously. I almost died. Now that I’m out of the hospital I’m definitely going to take my chance to get my vaccine.”

Juli McDonald