Lake EMS received very sad news today about the loss of one of our district chiefs, Captain Joseph Dragojevich. He apparently lost his life while SCUBA diving in a shipwreck off the coast of Key Largo, Florida – a location frequented by divers in the Keys.
Joe always strived to do his best for his patients and led by example. His loyalty to Lake County was exhibited by his dedication to EMS as his career flowed through three different companies.
Many of us share fond memories of how Joe worked, lived and pursued his multiple interests in life. One of those interests was SCUBA diving and he routinely took trips to South Florida to indulge his love of the sport. So as we grieve for the loss of Joe, we also remember that he was doing what he loved.
Memorial Service Schedule:
DATE: Monday, 28 October 2013 LOCATION: Henry Chapel of First Baptist Orlando, 3000 John Young Parkway
VISITATION: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and service begins at 3:00 pm
Thank you for everything you gave to each of us, what you taught us and for your friendship and leadership to each one of us. You will be missed very much. May your heart rest in peace and God be with your family.
Rest in Peace, Joe. You will be horribly missed. Thank-you for the kindness and dedication you showed through the years. Prayers for comfort to your family and friends.
You will be truly missed. The hardest days are going to be at shift change. I will be waiting for you to walk in and you wont be there. Praying for your family in this time. Also for Lake EMS and Lake County. Thank you for showing me the ropes 10 years ago when i was a brand new EMT. It was a great year at M251 with Smokin Joe. Couldnt have asked for a great first partner.
Joe, it was my medic test out for lake. Dr. B made Joe ask me a question and that in turn led to a 10 page paper I needed to write for the doctor before I was able to practice. Joe was always someone who pushed me to be my best and helped me through some of the mistakes I made as a new medic. Lake EMS has lost a great leader and it’s employees lost a dear friend. We will miss you Joe.
It was an honor to work beside you brother. I will miss our conversations and your laughter. I pray your family and our EMS family find peace and know we will never forget you! Rest easy brother, your shift is done.
Some of the best memories of working EMS was running calls with Joe! RIP Brother. You will be missed.
Drago you were taken too soon. You were a amazing man, friend, paramedic and supervisor. I always knew you were there for all of us. Words cannot explain the heavy heart we all have right now. You will be greatly missed!! God Speed brother!!
I will miss your smile and unmistakable laugh, the stories of your latest adventure and your off the wall jokes. I could always count on you to be honest when I needed guidance, even when you knew I wouldn’t like the answer. Fond memories of you will live on in my heart. May peace and comfort come to your family. “Swim” in peace good friend.
My dearest Joe, it didn’t take me years to know who you really were and what you represented. I have lost your friendship here in earth, but the heavens has gained an Angel and you will continue to live in my heart. I am greatful and it was an honor to have known such a great man! Thank you for being part of my life and my journey. God bless…
I remember my first week at EMS. I had a ride-along with Joe at station 221. I was new and wasn’t sure what to wear. When I walked in the station, Joe looked at my feet and asked “are you really going to wear those shoes?” We both laughed and the remainder of the shift we ran five calls. Joe made sure that he fully explained everything we did. I have always remembered that day and appreciated everything he did to help me. You will be truly missed.
Joe, I don’t remember anytime that I saw you that you didn’t have a smile on your face. No matter what you were doing you always took the time to say hello and ask me how I was doing. You had a great sense of humor and I will miss your sweet, sometimes sarcastic, funny wit that made you such a special person. Shift meetings will never be the same! God bless you and your family. I will never forget you.
Joe, you were my District Chief in Sumter County for 6 years. You were an awesome supervisor and friend. I cant remember any time you were not seeing the positive side of every situation. I enjoyed every minute I worked with you and will miss you terribly! My family will keep you and your family in our daily thoughts and prayers. God speed my friend, we will take it from here.
Joe was my FTO during the start of my 5 years with Lake Sumter EMS and I don’t think I could have had a better person for it. He was straightforward, ALWAYS and also supportive as well. I arrived with 6 months as a medic, and Joe helped me to get my feet under me very quickly. I saw his promotion to Captain and felt like LSEMS had made the correct choice. He will be missed by many. RIP Drago.
Lake EMS won’t be the same without you I’m sure. Charismatic, humble, adventurous, sarcastic, always a twinkle in the eye. In an environment where stress, exhaustion, and frustration were an everyday occurance, you knew how to help us through it. Glad to have known you, because you were one of a kind.
Joe was my District Chief when I worked for Lake/Sumter EMS. He was a good man and an awesome Paramedic. Joe was on the same shift and I enjoyed our morning coffee together. He was fun to work with. He will be truly missed. Sad day in the EMS community. Please Pray for his family.
I’m not sure I ever saw you without a smile on your face. Good day, bad day, didn’t matter, you always seem to have a positive attitude. You were an amazing supervisor. Any time I saw you, the first words out of your mouth, were, how are you, and I have donuts in the truck, and do you need anything. Before you left, it was always, is there anything I can do for you before I leave, and thank you for coming to work today, your doing a great job. You don’t know how much that meant to me. It was an honor to work with you. Thank you for coming to work Joe you did an amazing job. R.I.P Joe Dragojevich you will be missed.
Joe was always so happy and energetic when we would work together. We have really lost a very special person, but I know he is watching down on us from above. RIP Joe.
Paramedic Joe…you will be missed….we have lost a great brother in the EMS community…prayers are with your family…godspeed…RIP
R.I.P. Joe Dragojevich 🙁 Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends!
God bless Joe,
Just heard the news of your passing. It was always a pleasure seeing you. You will be truly missed, Joe. So much thanks to you for the lives you saved.
While it has been many years since I worked with Joe, it does not diminish the sadness in my heart. I remember Joe as a Paramedic at station 3 (Bassville Park) so *** tones *** “Operations, ALS 3, Final Page for Captain Joe Drago.” RIP, Drago. Praying for peace and comfort for Joe’s family. Both his home family and his work family.
Joe, I can’t count the cups of coffee shared on the front porch at 43 while you told stories about your latest diving adventure, or plans for the next trip, but I do know that we had many laughs and good times over those cups. Your passing is a great blow to everyone who knew you, and has left us all with a heavy heart. You will be missed by all who knew you. You are a great man taken from the world entirely too soon. At least we have the comfort of knowing that you were doing what you loved when you left us. Rest in peace Smokin Joe….
So sad. R.I.P. Captain. Prayers for your families and friends.
Doing what he loved…. RIP Joe.
Joe you were a true friend and an inspiration to us all in the medical field. I can remember on several occasions when you came by St-21 and sat and had coffee with us just to shoot the breeze. You will be truly missed.
Our Heroes don’t falter, they hold out a helping hand…
They don’t waiver, they have a job to do
and yes, some never make it home…
We will remember you…we will honor you…we will salute you…
we will respect and cherish you.
I didn’t know you Joe, but I didn’t need to.
-a 9/11 survivor,
Joe your dedication to Lake EMS was very evident. You will be greatly missed. Will miss you brother.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family during this difficult time.
Joe, you were a fine medic and one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I will greatly miss you.
Thank you for your service to the public Joe. I’m glad to have been friends. You will be missed. Prayers to your family during this time.
It is difficult to write this through tearing eyes you understand, but I can and will because I hear your voice, “it’s ok Brother”. I will truly miss you on shift, each morning when I ask “are you ready?”. It has been MY pleasure and an honor to have served with you.
The bottle of Patron that you gave me will soon be opened and glasses will be lifted to you.
“Peace” and carry on my Brother.
It has been a few years since my husband & I worked EMS. We were both saddened & shocked to hear about Joe’s passing. RIP Joe, you will be missed by all who have worked with you & knew you.
Thoughts & prayers to his family, co-workers, friends.
You will be missed by Lake County in so many ways. From the extensive knowledge you not only had, but shared with those you worked with to the smiles you brought to everyone around you. Some of my fondest memories were of you, Jose, Mike, and me at Station 22. Sure we drove the supervisors crazy, sure we were unconventional in all the ways that didn’t impact patient care, but we got the job done and got more saves than just about any other station in the service. We truly earned the self-given title of the “Black Sheep Squadron” of EMS. RIP, Drago, and have a cup with David when you see him. You know he always loved our coffee the best.
It is very hard to be typing this, it doesn’t seem real. I feel like your just going to show up to work tomorrow and with a smile ask why we are all so sad. You had such a different way of looking at everything, you could play the devils advocate with the best if them. We had many great conversations, not just about work but world conflicts, history and life. You showed up to work with a smile and it was contagious, you always took the time to talk to the crews and listen. You were taken from us way to soon, but I know you left us doing something you passionately loved. “Dive” in peace and when you see David tell him we all said hi. RIP:(
Joe, it has taken me awhile to know what to say to you on here and I am sorry for that. I really don’t know how to say good bye to someone who has made such an impact on everyone that knows you. The struggle of your loss is great, and I don’t know how we will carry on. But carry on we must. You have touched the hearts of us all.
For me, I sit here with tears rolling down my face, wondering why this has happened. Trying to prepare for tomorrow morning when I arrive at the station and your not there. We have shared a lot brother. From just normal work days and coffee, to personal issues. You were always there with advise, and always had my back. not just as a supervisor, but as a personal friend. We knew each others life story. So for me, I will never say good bye to you Joe. Because I know you will still always be there. I will see you again brother!
This does not seem real. Joe you lived life to the fullest with no regrets. I am glad you were doing one of the things you loved to do. I will miss hearing the stories of your adventures. I first rode with you and Jose when I was an emt student about 15yrs ago. Then came to work for Lake Sumter ems and worked with you. Then you became one of my supervisors. Through all of that you have taught me a lot. You always said “Thanks for coming to work today, you are doing a great job.” There are so many funny stories. Godspeed Joe you will never be forgotten and you will live on through the crews.
I will never forget our conversations, jokes and times we worked together. You will be missed dearly by all my friend! Thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends.
Whenever Joe would relieve me at D4 back in the day, I never saw him arrive without a smile, a laugh and a joke. Rob, me and our crew here will keep Joe, his family and all of you in our thoughts and prayers. Know that we are only a phone call away if any of you ever need anything. God speed Joe. Rest easy… we’ll all take it from here. God bless all of you .
Corky and Robert
RIP in Peace Joe. I know that you lived your dreams to the fullest. May your swim to heaven be smooth. Thanks for being you. May God bless you and your family. You will be missed Drago.
Joe there are no words to describe how you have changed my life. Your soul eased my worries and uplifted everybody’s mood that was in your presence. I will cherish our last time hanging out at the Eustis HS football game just over a week ago while you were EMS 3.
I will never forget everything you taught me about both life and medicine. I can still picture seeing your truck down the road racing towards me with the lights bright as ever and sirens screaming just to help me out when you knew I needed help on critical calls. You helped me out during the hard times and the good times. You were more than a friend, more than a supervisor, but an amazing soul that I was so fortunate to have gotten to spend a short time of my life with.
I will never forget our conversations and hysterical laughing episodes. Never will I forget spending those hours at dinner and then playing air hockey until 2 am with Cody, Nicole, and Heather. Continue to live free my friend and don’t piss off too many people up there :)… Love you brother.
Joe, you were my district chief for 5 years when I worked for EMS. I cant even count the number of starbucks trips we made. You were always there for me whether it was work related or personal. I enjoyed our talks and Ill never forgot when we went to lunch, shared a bottle of wine and talked about me going to nursing school. You told me to always follow my dreams and do what was best for me and my family. You were a great friend and Ill never forget you. God speed. Thank you for being a great mentor and friend.
Thank you for your service to the public Joe. I’m glad to have been friends. You will be missed. Prayers to your family during this time.
Your words were not always the word we wanted to hear but they were always the words we needed to hear whether we liked them or not, you held no punches. You were a wealth of knowledge, that you didn’t mine sharing with everyone. Your infectious smile will be missed here at station 271. You have forever impacted my life and your spirit lives on in here in Lake County. I will miss you!!! Thank you for the lessons,
Thank you all for all of the amazing memories and words you have for my Uncle. Its very comforting for myself and my family to know he was loved by many and he will live on through each of us. It’s heart warming to know that he had two families that loved and adored him. Many thanks to you all again.
Dear Joe, as you back you way back home today my heart is heavy and I am loss for words. I will miss my dear friends hug and that smile; you have touch so many hearts. Lake EMS now have two angels (David & Joe)looking down on us. Rest in peace my friend. I will miss you terribly!
The loss will be felt in the community he served and across the globe where he will be remembered by those of us who worked with him. I wish peace to his family and friends.
It has been a pleasure working here beside you from Lake-Sumter days until this present time. You gave when no one else had to give, you taught when no one else felt like teaching, you appreciated when no one else appreciated and I honor you for that. I am in complete disbelief that this is how it had to be but only God knows and he never makes a mistake. You will forever be in my heart and truly missed. May God be with your family to comfort them in their time of sorrow. Dive in peace my brother. Swim On!!!
A great man! A great father! A warrior. You will be missed, peace my friend.
My heart goes out to all who knew Joe and his family. I met his sister when i moved to Orlando back in march who informed me he was with Lake EMS. I unknowingly applied for the position as a medic before I realized Joe was an employee…When I met with his sister, she called him and entertained medic questions over the phone as I asked them with curiosity about the Fl system coming from both NJ/NYC.
His sister spoke very highly of him and he was more than helpful entertaining the questions from someone he didn’t even know….
From what I have read through the posted comments…he appears to be everything and more that I anticipated him being and I very much looked forward to the possibility of meeting him.
It’s a shame how the best of us can sometimes appear to be unfairly taken from us well before their time….
I never met or knew Joe…I only met his sister..but upon reading this today when first visiting the site…it dealt even me a crushing blow… My heart and prayers go out to all those who mourn his loss…There is no doubt he will be missed and the community he served losing such a vital person….
We all deal with loss …see such horrific things…but when a fellow member of service is lost…no matter if one knows them or not…we know the sacrifices they made and you all make everyday for the sake of others at the sacrifice of yourselves….and in knowing this…losing one of our own is always to me..the hardest loss we face…
Rest in peace…you no doubt earned it….
I happened to meet Mr Dragojevich outside of Leesburg Hospital after the passing of my mother. As a fellow paramedic I wanted to pass on my thanks for the care my mother, a retired EMT, had received over the years. I walked over to the ambulance entrance and he was there. I tried thanking him and his crews but he was more concerned with how I was doing. After we had talked for a bit he gave me his card and said to call him if we needed anything. I will always remember. Thank you, Joe.
Thank you all for taking the time to share such proclamations of honor on my fathers behalf. reading comments like these, brings such pride to the family. Lake EMS and its staff have taken such great care of us all and continue to provide emotional reinforcement to those in need. we still do not know what exactly happened on that day. what i do know and can tell you for certain, is that he worked hard so he could play hard. he lived for his career, he truly cherished his job and loved the people he worked with even more. Every one of you here has taken it upon themselves to reveal to the world my fathers true character. words and stories that manifest not only his professional ethics and beliefs, but also his valued personal attributes relating to friendship. you all have been so great to us, to his family, that we cant even begin to imagine a sufficient was to say thanks. i know he has seen and continues to watch the acts of kindness toward his surviving family and loved ones. i know he is just as proud if not more, of all you, as you were of him. personally i am eternally grateful for the love rendered, and everyone of you will forever be in my thoughts. Thanks everyone <3