Chicago-area sales executive dies in Florida saving children from dangerous rip current, report says

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A sales executive at a suburban Chicago newspaper died after rescuing children from a rip current in the Gulf of Mexico while on vacation in Florida earlier this week, according to a report.  

Pete Rosengren, a 42-year-old married father of three, went into the Gulf on Sunday to help his sons and a family friend’s 9-year-old boy as the child struggled to navigate the current, the Daily Herald reported. Rosengren was able to pull the boy to safety but had to be rushed to an area hospital, where he could not be saved, local news station WGN-TV reported.

Rosengren, who lived in Batavia with his family, worked as the Daily Herald Media Group’s vice president of sales and digital strategies. He was on vacation with his wife, Maura Rosengren, their three sons and other families in the area of Miramar Beach, according to the Herald.

The Gulf was closed for swimming as a result of the severe water conditions, according to reports. Maura Rosengren told the Herald they had gotten to the beach only minutes earlier when the children “ran into the water right away.”

“It all happened so fast. I ran toward the water,” she said. She described how the 9-year-old boy was having a harder time than the other children returning to shore. She also told the Herald, reportedly through tears: “We could see one little boy couldn’t get in and … [Pete] went out there.”

Lifeguards performed CPR on Rosengren before medics transported him to a local hospital, according to the Herald. A medical examiner will determine his cause of death.

Speaking to WGN-TV, Joe Shaker, who was identified as Rosengren’s best friend, said Rosengren is “a true hero.”

“The world needs more Petes putting others in front of themselves,” he said.

Shaker described how Maura was “the love of his life.”

“His three boys meant the world to him,” Shaker continued. “He was an avid coach, too. I would say he loved getting on the baseball field with his sons.”

Scott Stone, Daily Herald Media Group’s president and chief operating officer, told the Herald it was “no surprise his final minute was spent helping others.”

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“Pete was always there for others — employees, peers, family and friends. That was his DNA,” Stone told the news site. “Pete had an oversized personality, quick wit, humor and unique compassion for others.”

The Herald has organized a GoFundMe page to benefit Maura Rosengren and the family.

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