DENVER – A paramedic who was well respected as a mentor, leader and colleague to many in the EMS community died from complications of COVID-19 over the weekend, Platte Valley Ambulance Service officials said Monday.
Mark Smith, a Paramedic Battalion Chief of the ambulance department at Platte Valley, died at 2:39 a.m. Sunday “after a fierce battle with COVID,” according to a post on the Platte Valley Ambulance Service Facebook page. The post made no mention of Smith’s vaccination status.
Smith, who served as a first responder for 30 years, is the fourth first responder in Colorado to die this year after contracting the novel virus. In total, five first responders across the state have died after contracting the disease.
The battalion chief had been with Platte Valley Medical Center for 14 years and previously served with REED ambulance, Rural Metro Ambulance and as a dispatcher for Adams County Communications before joining Platte Valley Medical Center, according to the Facebook post.
“Whether Mark was teaching, working on the ambulance, leading his team as the shift supervisor or any other countless tasks he would take on, he was always an inspiration and did what he could to put a smile on your face. Mark was known for his sarcastic humor and personality, always teasing and making the workplace fun. To all who knew him, he was kind, compassionate, caring, and an all-around hero,” reads a message sent to his coworkers Monday. “His entire Platte family are grieving his loss, a loss that will be felt for a long time.”
Officials with the Fort Lupton Fire Protection District said in a Facebook post that Smith was an instructor who helped train their staff in fine tuning their EMT skills and said he will be missed by many first responders.
“We lost one of our longtime friends this morning. Mark always had a smile on his face and a joke lined up to tell. He has been working alongside us for years. We will truly miss him,” said another Facebook post from Brighton Professional Firefighters local 447. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and our friends at Platte Valley Ambulance Service. Rest In Peace, Mark. You will not be forgotten.”
Information on his memorial services will be shared at a later time, Platte Valley officials said, as they asked the community to keep the Smith family in their thoughts and prayers.
A GoFundMe page has been created if you’d like to donate to his memorial fund.