Paramedic & Father of 2 Dies of COVID-19 Weeks Before 49th Birthday: He 'Led a Life Devoted to Service'

A dedicated first responder is dead after contracting the novel coronavirus.

Shon Matthews — a 48-year-old paramedic working in Texarkana — died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, just weeks before his birthday, the American Ambulance Association shared in a statement posted to their Facebook.

"A devoted family man, paramedic, and friend, his spirit lives on in all who selflessly serve their communities as he did," the organization said of Matthews. "Rest in peace, brother."

Matthews tested positive for COVID-19 in September and was hospitalized at a medical center in Temple, Texas, KTPS reported.

He had been promoted to area manager at LifeNet — a ground and air emergency medical service in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma — this summer, according to his employer.

Matthews initially started at the company in 2007 as a part-time EMT while studying to become a paramedic. He quickly worked his way up the ranks after becoming a full-time employee in 2009, taking on various roles as a field training officer, operations manager and flight medic in the span of a few years.

Though he briefly stepped away from his EMS career to help his family start a business, Matthews continued to work on-call as a paramedic, according to LifeNet. He returned to his full-time position in 2016.

"During his 48 years on this earth, Shon led a life devoted to service above self in everything he did," the company said in a statement. "His passing leaves a hole in the hearts of those he worked with that will never be filled. The positive memories he leaves behind him through his dedication to serving others will help heal our hurt as time goes on and we mourn his passing."

In addition to his role as a full-time first responder, Matthews also worked as an instructor in the EMT and Paramedic programs at Texarkana College and served as a Sunday School teacher at Fairland Holiness Church in Fouke, Arkansas.

He is survived by his wife Jennifer and their children, Nicole and Derek.

"Well I think it will take a couple weeks before he will slow down on those streets of gold. So thankful for the comfort of the Holy Ghost that came down in the hospital waiting room shortly after we got the news," Matthews' daughter Nicole wrote on social media on Tuesday. "Gonna miss you Dad, Love you so much!!! We’ll see you soon!!!!!"

A fundraiser set up in support of Matthews' family has been scheduled for Nov. 19.

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