Remembering the lives lost to COVID-19: James Luensman, 43, of Atkins, Iowa

This is part of a Yahoo News series honoring some of the American lives lost to COVID-19. Their stories are told by family and friends, who were left to deal with their often sudden and painful deaths.

James Luensman, 43, of, Atkins, Iowa., died on Oct. 30, 2020, after becoming ill with COVID-19. He is among the more than 580,000 Americans who have succumbed to the disease since the first known fatality in the United States in early 2020.

His 16-year-old son, Connor Luensman, told Yahoo News that his father was his “best friend” and a “hero” who saved many lives.

James was a paramedic for 19 years in the Cedar Rapids area. He also ran the paramedic program at Kirkwood Community College and taught respiratory therapy and nursing.