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Colorado paramedic honored upon his return after dying of coronavirus while serving in NYC

A retired Colorado paramedic who died from coronavirus after volunteering to help combat the pandemic in New York City was being honored Sunday as his body was returned to Denver.

Ambulnz paramedics and Aurora firefighters salute as the casket carrying the body of paramedic Paul Cary arrives at Denver International Airport on May 3, 2020 in Denver. A procession of emergency vehicles escorted the body to Olinger Hampden Funeral Home & Cemetery where he will be laid to rest. (Pool photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

A retired Colorado paramedic who died from coronavirus after volunteering to help combat the pandemic in New York City was honored Sunday as his body was returned to Denver.

Paul Cary, 66, who worked 32 years as a firefighter paramedic in the Denver suburbs, died April 30, a month after he began working in New York. He was part of a wave of out-of-state medical technicians, doctors and nurses who came to the city to help relieve a health care system being overwhelmed by the virus.

Gov. Jared Polis said Cary had “heroically” served his community and country and traveled thousands of miles to help others. Cary

The procession of emergency vehicles for paramedic Paul Cary makes its way out of Denver International Airport on May 3, 2020 in Denver. (Pool photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
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A large procession of fire trucks, EMS and other emergency vehicles drove from the airport after Cary’s body was returned Sunday night. Cary was a grandfather who lived for decades in Aurora, before moving to Denver.

He arrived in New York on April 1 as part of a wave of out-of-state medical technicians, doctors and nurses who came to the city to help relieve a health care system being overwhelmed by the virus.

“He risked his own health and safety, and stepped up to do what he could,” Polis said in a statement. “I can never express just how grateful I am for people like Paul, and all our emergency responders who are on the front lines of this virus.”

When he volunteered, Cary was working with a private ambulance company, Ambulnz from which 75 employees had volunteered to work in New York, according to Ambulnz spokesman Josh Weiss.

Cary responded from a location in the Bronx to calls ranging from patient transfers to 911 calls. He was planning to stay for a second, one-month tour before getting sick, Weiss said. He spent his final days on a ventilator at Montefiore Medical Center, Weiss said.

Cary worked for more than 30 years as a firefighter and paramedic in Aurora before joining Ambulnz. He was so adamant about working in New York that he was planning to stay for a second, one-month tour before getting sick, Weiss said.