Paul Cary was a 66-year-old father of two and grandfather of four who decided to embark on a 27-straight hour journey across 1,800 miles in an ambulance from Colorado on March 28.
After his death, a line of paramedic and emergency vehicles were seen escorting his body back home. The symbolic procession echoed the fleet of private ambulances and medics from across the country who traveled to NYC along with Cary to assist an overwhelmed health care system.
“He risked his own health and safety, and stepped up to do what he could,” Colorado Gov. Jared 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.”
While in the city, Cary worked with a private ambulance company, Ambulnz that saw 75 employees volunteer in the city, according to company spokesman Josh Weiss. He responded to emergency calls from the Bronx that varied from patient transfers to 911 calls.
Before his death, Cary was planning to stay for a second tour that would last an additional month before he got sick, Weiss added. He spent his final days on a ventilator at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
Cary had served as an Aurora firefighter and paramedic for more than 30 years.
“He will be remembered as an EMS provider who gave his all to care for others,” the Aurora Fire Department said.
New York EMS workers traveled to Colorado to pay their respects to Cary’s family in person, according to the Washington Post. His casket was covered by the American flag.
Fox News’ Robert Gearty and The Associated Press contributed to this report