Paul Cary, a grandfather of four who'd served as a paramedic and firefighter in Aurora, Colo., for more than 30 years, knew he wanted to help the people of New York City as they battled the coronavirus. And so, NBC New York reports, at the end of March, the 66-year-old drove an ambulance across the country to go help out in the Big Apple, arriving for his first day of service on April 1. Cary, stationed out of the Bronx Zoo, helped FEMA transport patients across the city. But sometime between April 19 and April 20, he started exhibiting virus symptoms himself, and he was soon after admitted to the Bronx's Montefiore Medical Center, per NBC News and CBS New York. He was eventually put on a ventilator, and on Thursday, his family made a sad announcement.
"We were devastated to learn that our father and grandfather, Paul Cary, became the latest victim to die of COVID-19," they said in a statement, per KKTV. "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." The Aurora fire department put up a tweet noting Cary's passing, calling it "heartbreaking news," and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio honored the "heroic" Cary at a Friday press conference, per CBS New York. "We have lost someone who came to our aid, to our defense," the mayor said. "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 of New York City, and while working to save lives here gives his own life." (Read more paramedics stories.)