Last Updated on October 3, 2022
President Biden thanked a member of the U.S. Coast Guard for his life-saving efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian just days before the servicemember is set to be discharged over his refusal to take a COVID-19 vaccine. “I told him how proud of him I was and thanked him for all the work he and his Coasties are doing to save lives,” Biden said Friday of his call with Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Zach Loesch, Fox News reported.
The White House publicized the call in a press release. The White House press release said he thanked Loesch and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hooper “for the heroic work that they and their Coast Guard colleagues have performed during search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Ian.”
“The President thanked them for saving lives and asked for a report on the work that continues to rescue Floridians. He also asked if they needed any additional support that he can provide to accelerate successful rescues; they indicated they have gotten what they need to execute their vital mission,” the release said.
Despite Biden’s compliments, Loesch told Breitbart News that he is among the service members poised to be discharged in 30 to 60 days over his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Loesch had submitted a request for a religious exemption, as well as an appeal, but both were denied, he told Breitbart.
“If I had asked any of the people I saved yesterday if they wanted to come with me even though I am unvaccinated, every single one of them would have said ‘yes,’” he said.
Loesch personally rescued a disabled woman and her husband who were trapped in a back room of a flooded home. He was forced to kick down a wall in order to save them, as a couch was jammed in front of the doorway.
Once they were freed, he went back to retrieve her wheelchair, securing it to his own body as he was hoisted up by a Coast Guard helicopter. Loesch also rescued several dogs and cats, Breitbart News reported.
Loesch said he did not want to bring up his discharge with the commander in chief and ruin the call.
“It just sucks that he thanked me yet the vaccine mandate is what’s kicking me out,” he said. “I just love my job and I’m really good at it. It sucks. I feel like this is the job that I was born to do.”