NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — A Colorado paramedic who volunteered to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic in its New York City epicenter has died from the virus, his family announced Thursday.
Paul Cary was 66 years old. He is survived by two sons and four grandchildren.
"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," his family wrote in a statement to the media. "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."
Before working for Ambulnz – a private ambulance company – Cary spent 30 years as a firefighter and paramedic for the Aurora Fire Department.
“Paul’s career is best defined by his kindness and service to others,” a news release from Ambulnz reads.
At a news conference Thursday night, representatives of Ambulnz said Cary deployed to New York at the end of March and started working on April 1. Despite the fact his age put him in the at-risk category listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ambulnz said he was adamant about going. In fact, they said he already planned to deploy a second time before he started getting sick.
"If you knew Paul, he was extremely devoted to his work and very excited about going," said Rick Diemert, Colorado's operations manager of Ambulnz. "He was very, very devoted."
Cary was working for FEMA and was stationed at the Bronx Zoo where he completed medical transports of patients all over New York City, according to a spokesperson for Ambulnz.
Chris Tiller, a regional general manager for Ambulnz, said Cary started showing symptoms of COVID-19 on either April 19 or 20 and was admitted to Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx on April 21. They said he was eventually put on a ventilator.
Cary's family released a statement tonight that read:
"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."
There have been at least 167,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City and almost 13,000 deaths.
For comparison, Colorado has experienced at least 777 deaths as of this writing, and 15,284 confirmed cases of the virus.
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