Local paramedic Josh Grzyb spent three summers caring for George H.W. Bush and got to know his family. Credit: Josh Grzyb via CBS 13

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — As the 41st president’s health began to deteriorate throughout the years, the Bush family hired a staff of paramedics to care for him and the family.

One of those paramedics, Josh Grzyb, spent three summers along the scenic coast of Walkers Point starting in 2015.

[Sully, Bush’s service dog, lies by his casket before one last journey with the former president]

He worked closely with the Bush family helping former President George H.W. Bush with basic day-to-day functions like combing his hair and picking out his colorful socks.

“My heart was in my throat, my stomach was in knots,” Grzyb said. “I walked onto the compound and had small bits of panic because [I’m] going to serve the president of the United States.”

It’s a job Grzyb never dreamed of having.

Because he lost his own grandparents at a very young age, his relationship with George and Barbara Bush was special to say the least.

“They felt like family to me. They were very close I love them dearly. I did work for them but I also felt like I was working for my own family and helping them with day to day care,” Grzyb said.

[How George H.W. Bush used handwritten thank-you notes to ink his values]

Grzyb said Bush would support him in every way possible.

When he brought up applying to medical school to become a physician’s assistant in the fall of 2017, Bush wanted to do everything he could to make that vision a reality.

“He said, ‘son I’ll do something for you.’ And I said, ‘what’s that?’ He said, ‘I’ll write you a letter of recommendation.’ And I couldn’t even describe the feeling at that time,” Grzyb said.

Bush wrote the letter of recommendation in February of this year.

Thanks to the letter, Grzyb said, he got in to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science in Boston.

“I just wish I had the opportunity to call and tell him that. That I got in,” Grzyb said.

[How Maine shaped the life and presidency of George H.W. Bush]

He got in on Thursday, one day before Bush passed.

“My friend, my boss, my idol had passed away. And I shed a tear because he was like family to me. He was like the grandfather I never had,” Grzyb said.