NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Colorado paramedic who volunteered to come to New York City and join the frontline of the fight against coronavirus has died of the virus.
Paul Cary was a 30-year veteran of the Aroura Fire Service and part of the 250 out-of-town ambulances that FEMA sent to help the city during the peak of the crisis.
Cary was admitted to Montefiore Medical Center on April 21 after becoming symptomatic on April 19. He was intubated and later died.
Heartbreaking news. Today we learned of the passing of retired Fire Medic Paul Cary. He spent more than 30 years with our department serving his community as a firefighter and a paramedic. He will be remembered as an EMS provider who gave his all to care for others.
— Aurora Fire Rescue (@AuroraFireDpt) May 1, 2020
The 66-year-old is survived by two sons and four grandchildren, WCBS Denver reports.
“We have lost someone who came to our aid, to our defense. And there’s something particularly painful when someone does the right thing, a fellow American comes from across the country to try and help the people in New York City and while working to save lives here gives his own life. It’s very painful. It’s heroic. It’s something we honor. But it’s very very painful that we’ve lost this good man,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “For three decades, he served the people of Aurora, and then came very bravely to serve us. He did not have to do it he made the choice to come here to save lives.
“And I gotta tell you, it just hurts that such a good man has made the ultimate sacrifice for us,” he added. “So to the Cary family. We honor, we honor Paul’s sacrifice. We honor what Paul did. He clearly saved lives while he was here. We honor all of you. We grieve with you. And we’re going to find a way to create a special memorial for Paul here in New York City, to remember all those who came to our defense. The paramedics, the EMTs, members of the military, so many good people, doctors and nurses around the country. So many people came to help, but Paul gave his life for us, and we’re going to honor him in a particular way.”
In a statement Cary’s family said:
“We were devastated to learn that our father and grandfather, Paul Cary, became the latest victim to die of COVID-19. Our family grieves his loss, and knows that all his friends and family will miss him greatly.
“Accepting Paul’s commitment to serving others in need, we respected his choice to volunteer to be part of Ambulnz’s response team to the COVID-19 crisis in New York City. He risked his own health and safety to protect others and left this world a better place. We are at peace knowing that Paul did what he loved and what he believed in, right up until the very end.”
A coworker told CBS Denver that Cary knew the risks of working with coronavirus patients but was adamant about going to New York to help.
“If you knew Paul, he was extremely devoted to his work and very excited about going. In fact, before he got sick he was anticipating doing a second deployment in NYC… very, very devoted,” said Rick Diemert, operations manager for Ambulnz.