Family, friends remember paramedic killed in Ukraine - Tucson News Now

Family, friends remember paramedic killed in Ukraine

Joe Stone Joe Stone
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A paramedic from Tucson has died on a peace mission in war-torn Ukraine.

36-year-old Joe Stone was part of an international team monitoring the conflict between Ukrainian  government troops and Russian-backed separatists.
On Sunday, April 23,  the car he was riding in was hit by an explosion, possibly a land mine or a roadside bomb.

Stone was killed. Two other members of the monitoring team were wounded.

No matter who we talked with, we got the same story.

Joe Stone was a good man, so it made sense that he became a paramedic in Tucson to help people in need. Stone's family and friends all wanted to make the point 

Stone's family calls him Bobby.

They talked about how a great father he was to his 13-year-old son.

He was the middle brother, between Adam and Matt. They grew up in Tucson.

Joe worked at, what was then, Southwest Ambulance in Tucson before taking overseas jobs.

His family and friends want the world to remember Stone as someone who made a difference, someone who is very special to many people.

"He was funny. He was smart. He was a good father. He was nothing less than a humanitarian. He went to the worst parts of the world where the people needed him the most. And he went above and beyond. Always. Always," said Matt Stone, Joe's younger brother. 

"When he was in Ukraine he would tell me about how bad he felt for the people there and how nice they were there and he would buy little kids candy and he would go up to strangers on the street and he would hand them money and stuff. He did that in Africa when he was in Africa too," Stone said.

"He'd be around to help you with anything you needed and he was just an all over good guy. And I don't ever think he would ever have considered himself a hero because he was just doing what he thought was right," said Stone's older brother, Adam Ziolecki.

"Somebody who actually made a change. Somebody who will be remembered for what he sacrificed and what he did not try to make the world a more peaceful place. I mean that was his whole intention to go over there and make things better. And like I said, I really hope his death bring about some kind of change," Ziolecki said.

"Somebody that was just there helping and watching things. They weren't even supposed to be in the crossfire and like I say, he paid the ultimate sacrifice so that things down there can get better," Ziolecki said.

His friends remember Stone fondly too. Even when he was overseas, he kept in touch. 

"Joe didn't have an easy life and there were a few times he fell hard, but he always picked himself up and the best part about it is that even when when was hurting he still made sure other people weren't," said Stone's friend and former co-worker, Michelle Watson.

"Joe went to other countries to work as a paramedic because he loved helping people.That was one of his passions, was to take care of people and be there for them, but he was always the best patient advocate and just human advocate there was," Watson said. "I would like everyone to know that Joe had the biggest heart, biggest heart ever."

"I know as his family, we miss him a lot. We're going to miss him a lot, but the world lost something really special April 23rd," said Matt Stone.

On Monday, April 25, the family was waiting for Stone's remains to be returned to Tucson.

They are planning a memorial service.

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