Paramedics mourn co-worker killed in accident

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PARIS, TX -- Paris paramedics are mourning the loss of one of their own after a fatal accident over the weekend.

On Sunday morning, Paris EMS was called to a motorcycle accident on Southeast Loop 286. The bike had collided with a van and the rider wasn't breathing. Fellow Paris paramedic Joe Howard was pronounced dead a short time later.

Co-workers describe Howard, a ten-year Paris EMS veteran, as a family man who enjoyed fishing and spending time with his grandchildren.

"It just really is surreal to know that one of our folks is not coming back to work," said Paris paramedic Rick Browning.

"He loved just living life to the fullest," said Paris paramedic supervisor John Janes. "Joe and as some people called him Joey, he is going to be really missed."

"You can't just sum up Joe as a paramedic, he was bigger than that," said Paris EMS Director Kent Klinkerman. "He loved his girls, he loved his grandkids and his wife, he really enjoyed fishing."

Paris paramedics say they've lost a part of their family.

"We are all a family," said Janes. "Every third day we live together and to have this happen was tragic."

"It's a family," said Klinkerman. "I mean when you spend as many hours as you do on the job, they work with each other for 24 hours at a time."

This is the first time the Paris EMS has lost a paramedic to non-natural causes.

"It has not happened here as a tragedy like this before and we just are all coming to grips with it, but it's very difficult," said Browning.

Many paramedics and first responders gathered to support family members Sunday after the accident.

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the Love Civic Center in Paris.