After being required to attend a training course, Jeff Kurtzman, along with 16 other of his colleagues, tested positive for coronavirus. On Tuesday, Kurtzman lost his battle with the virus.
“Over the past three decades [Kurtzman] had become well known to his in-Flight colleagues for his passion for discovering new places, people and cultures; his terrific sense of humor and knack for easy conversation; and his caring heart,” Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines CEO wrote. “He embodied the values of aloha and Malaga that we hold dear.”
According to the Hawaii Department of Health, social distancing at the event was not practiced, and masks were merely optional, heightening everyone’s risk of being exposed.
For over 30 years, Kurtzman had been working for Hawaiian Airlines. While his colleagues failed to follow the official health protocols, he always remained in his mask.
“[The training course] got a little lax on the second day, ‘but I kept my mask on. I don’t want to get sick,” Connie Flores, a friend of Kurtzman, told NBC Los Angeles.
Kurtzman, who was only 60 years old, has been described as being a great human and generous man by family and friends. He will be greatly missed.
“He’s such a beautiful man. He just kept apologizing. ‘I’m so sorry. I know you must be scared.’ Really, we’ve lost an angel,” Florez told NBC.
Vic Gerami, another friend of Kurtzman, shared a heartfelt post on Facebook expressing his sincere condolences.
“Jeff was a loving, generous, and kind man, and a rock in my life,” he wrote. “I cannot even begin to comprehend this loss, but I want to share about his passing with the countless people who love and respect him.”
According to People, Hawaiian airlines have continued with training after a deep cleaning of facilities. Ingram shared that there are now stricter rules in place requiring face masks and social distancing.