THE heartbroken husband of an Irish nurse who tragically drowned in the US today paid an emotional tribute to a woman "who loved saving lives".
Jenny Gallagher (46), from Co Meath, died while swimming with friends last week -- just days after she treated victims of the Batman premiere shootings in Colorado.
A devoted mum to Jack (5), she was among those praised by US president Barack Obama for saving lives.
Speaking to the Herald today, her devastated husband Greg Pender described Jenny as a "wonderful mother".
"It's hard to put into words how I feel right now. Jenny and I had been married for seven years. She was a wonderful to our son Jack. She loved him more than anything in the world. I admired her so much and loved her dearly. We're struggling to cope without her."
"She was so full of life. She worked so hard to get through college and secure a job that she truly loved. But she really cared about her Irish roots and heritage. She was so proud to be Irish."
Greg explained that the family had travelled to nearby Ohio for a holiday when Jenny tragically drowned.
He and Jack had gone to sleep when Jenny and her friend decided to take a boat out on to a lake.
"She wasn't a very strong swimmer and I suppose she just wasn't able to stay afloat.
"The hardest thing is I may never know what really happened to Jenny."
Greg said that she was renowned in her hospital in Colorado for the excellent care she gave patients.
"She worked the morning after the Batman massacre in a very busy unit of the hospital -- so she saw everything really, some really bad injuries.
But she was brilliant at helping people get through their illnesses. She loved treating people who were in bad situations -- it's the type of person she was."
Jenny settled in Denver in the 1990s. She had previously worked as a cook in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.