Local first responders hold procession to honor AMR Paramedic Ryan Shields

First responders gathered in Ocean Springs to hold a procession in honor of former AMR paramedic Ryan Shields. Shields died from COVID-19 on September 11th.

Hundreds gathered to say thank you and send love to a man who spent his life serving the Gulf Coast. Ryan Shields spent time in the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic and was a paramedic for over 20 years.

A Vancleave resident, Shields retired in 2019. He died September 11th at the age of 65. Gabriel Shields, Ryan’s son, said, “He was always strong. He was also our rock. He was always a mentor and there was not one of his kids, he had five boys and a daughter, and not one of us can say that he wasn’t an inspiration to us.”

The procession started at Lemoyne Boulevard and went north up Washington Avenue and finished at the Latimer Community Center.

Shields was considered the perfect picture of professionalism by his peers and was known for wearing a long sleeve shirt and a tie every day on the job. AMR Deputy Chief Charles Wise said, “He was what you would want your fellow employees to look like and come into your house every day. He wanted to make an impact. He said that the first thing that people see is what they’re going to think so with him being the exemplary person that he was, that’s how they would feel when they saw him walk in.”

Shields had a strong passion for teaching and even served as a member of the Harrison County Critical Incident Stress Debriefing team. Acadian Ambulance Service EMT Justin Horst said, “He has taught classes. He has taught medics. People go to him with problems, issues, and he kind of fixes that. That’s the kind of guy R.L. was.”

Shields was an avid fisherman, cook, and Packers fan. He will be missed by many including his wife, children, and grandchildren. “He was not only my dad, but he was my mentor. He was my inspiration. I am the man I am because of him. I can’t tell you how much he will be missed. I hope it doesn’t always hurt this bad.”

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