Colorado Paramedic Who Traveled to NYC to Help Coronavirus Victims Dies of COVID-19

A Colorado paramedic traveled to New York to work on the front lines of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and ended up giving the ultimate sacrifice as a result.

Aurora resident Paul Cary, 66, volunteered to travel across the country in late March, and started work in New York on April 1 through the private ambulance company Ambulnz, NBC affiliate 9News reported. He was stationed at the Bronx Zoo and worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to transport COVID-19 patients around the city, which is the epicenter of the pandemic.

"We were devastated to learn that our father and grandfather, Paul Cary, became the latest victim to die of COVID-19," the paramedic's family said in a statement to NBC News on Friday. "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," the family's statement continued. "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."

Cary, also a firefighter, first started showing symptoms of the contagious respiratory virus around April 20, NBC News reported, and was admitted to the Montefiore Medical Center on April 21. He eventually had to be placed on a ventilator, according to the outlet.

It is not clear if suffered from any pre-existing medical conditions prior to contracting the virus. People ages 65 and older are at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, as are people with underlying medical conditions, including heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, liver disease and chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Paul's career is best defined by his kindness and service to others during his time as a Paramedic at Ambulnz, and before that as a Firefighter/Paramedic of more than 30 years with the Aurora, Colorado Fire Department," Ambulnz said in a statement Thursday. "Paul made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and will forever be remembered as extremely dependable and completely devoted to his work."

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday, "Paul gave his life for us, and we’re going to honor him in a particular way," according to NBC News.

The mayor called Cary's choice to come to New York to help "heroic."

"So to the Cary family, we honor Paul’s sacrifice, we honor what Paul did," he said. "We honor all of you. We grieve with you."

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