Local firefighter in ICU; battling rare complications from West Nile Virus

Published: Oct. 18, 2017 at 4:42 PM CDT
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Bob Rayman has been a Bennington volunteer firefighter for more than 30 years. Now, instead of fighting flames, he's fighting rare and serious complications of West Nile Virus.

His daughter, Danielle Landholm, told 6 News: "My dad is the type of guy that has always put the well-being of others before himself."

Rayman is currently in the I-C-U at Nebraska Medicine. Landholm said doctors believe he contracted West Nile several weeks ago and now it's taken a devastating turn, causing Rayman's brain to swell.

Landholm said: "He lost his ability to communicate, swallow, eat, walk, sit, stand, any of those sort of motor skills."

Like her father, Landholm is a first responder - an Omaha firefighter paramedic. She calls her dad a "hero." In fact, she said he led the effort to build Bennington's new fire station.

Landholm said: "I know he would never want to call 9-1-1 for himself, and he had to do that. This West Nile Virus has really put him down."

Doctors aren't sure of Rayman's prognosis, but Landholm has faith her hero father can fight his way to a full recovery. She said: "He really will have a lot of therapy and will kind of have to be starting over."

Rayman's friends and family have organized a benefit to raise money to help cover his recovery costs. It's scheduled for Sunday November 19 from 12 noon until 6 P.M at the Bennington Fire Station, 10801 N. 156th Street.

The event includes food, live entertainment, a raffle, and silent auction. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12-and-under.

Donations are also being collected at the Bank of Bennington.

For more information, contact:

As for the West Nile Virus in Douglas County, the Health Department has confirmed 7 cases so far in 2017. 4 of those cases involve rare brain complications like those faced by Rayman.

West Nile is spread by mosquitoes. The Health Department told 6 News Douglas County still needs a hard frost to end West Nile season.