Springfield paramedic who died after contracting COVID-19 "wanted to help everybody," family says

Sue Gregory
Posted at 6:33 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 19:33:49-04

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Family, friends and coworkers are mourning the loss of Springfield paramedic who died last Tuesday after contracting COVID-19.

Sue Gregory, 57, had worked at Mercy Emergency Medical Services for 32 years and was in her fourth semester of nursing school.

Her daughter, Tara Blackburn, said her mother's life goal was to help others.

"You can ask anybody, she was the calm in the storm," Blackburn said.

Blackburn said Gregory knew from a young age, after her father suffered a heart attack, that she wanted to be a paramedic. She was pursuing a nursing degree so she could travel and help even more people.

Her family said she touched millions of lives over her years with Mercy.

"I don’t think there was one person that she wasn’t able to help, even a stranger," blackburn said. "She would walk up to them if she knew something was going on and she would want to be that helping hand."

Blackburn said her mother started off doing well after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and was able to continue working around the house. However, her health quickly took a turn when her oxygen levels kept falling.

Blackburn said Gregory was eventually put on a ventilator and doctors told family she had suffered major brain damage from lack of oxygen. Family had to make the difficult decision to let her go.

"We all said our goodbyes. We were all there with her. We held her hand and stood there the whole time," Blackburn said.

Blackburn still is processing the loss of her mother, and said she wants others to know COVID-19 isn't something to take lightly.

"I just want the public to know that it is real," Blackburn said. "Anybody can get it. It doesn’t discriminate who you are."

While she has a long road ahead, she takes comfort in knowing her mother touched so many lives.

"My mom would want everybody to just be healthy and get along," Blackburn said, "and that’s what I’m going try to do for her is try to help everybody that I can."