Submitted by his wife
My beloved husband‚ Bobby‚ joined the Gwinnett County Fire Department in 1988. Before joining this department‚ he was a Firefighter/EMT and Driver/Engineer with the City of Rome Fire Department for 12 years. Coming to the Gwinnett Department‚ which is a much larger fire department than Rome‚ was a commitment on Bobby’s part towards a better life for both of us and a chance to be closer to our family. This was to be a challenge for him‚ as although he had a perfect record as a firefighter with the Rome Department‚ he had to begin as any other Rookie when he was hired for Gwinnett. Although he was older than the other Rookies‚ he kept up with them in all the training and physical tests that had to be passed in order to become a Firefighter with the Gwinnett Fire Department. I remember him pushing himself daily to get ready for the physical fitness part of the test. He simply would not be defeated. He was presented with the Rookie Firefighter of the Year Award for the Gwinnett County Fire Department in 1989.
Bobby’s commitment to his profession as a Firefighter/EMT was second to none. He always gave his very best to anyone who needed help of any kind. He would never think of missing a day of work and received many perfect attendance awards‚ to which he told me‚ ‘It’s just the right thing to do.’ Many of his fellow firefighters‚ both in Rome and in Gwinnett County‚ have expressed to me what a great leader‚ supporter‚ listener and friend Bobby was to them. While with the Gwinnett Department he received eight Letters of Commendation from the Fire Chief‚ Deputy Chief‚ Captain and County Administrator. He also received several Unit Citation Awards. Bobby was an incredibly private person about his work and never mentioned these honors to me or his family and friends.
Bobby was a Lieutenant with the Gwinnett Fire Department‚ when on April 14‚ 2003‚ at age 54‚ while fighting a terrible fire in a motorcycle shop‚ he suffered a heart attack brought on by extreme stress. The fire was ruled arson and Bobby’s death was listed as a homicide. At this date‚ the case continues to be under investigation.
On April 13‚ 2004‚ my life was changed forever. To say that I was married to a wonderful and brilliant man for 33 years is a mere hint of the man Bobby Patrick was. He absolutely never thought of himself. He was constantly looking to see how he could help others. I was always amazed at his ability to do anything. He was a builder of custom homes and owner of B P Builders‚ Inc. His other talents included teacher‚ designer and builder of furniture‚ Building Inspector for Floyd County‚ GA‚ horseshoer…and my list could go on without end. I can honestly never remember a time in 33 years of marriage that we had to ask anyone’s help to do anything. If Bobby didn’t know how to do something he would figure it out! He was a problem solver in the highest sense of those words. He held a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts and Biology and taught Industrial Arts at the senior high school level before becoming a Firefighter.
Bobby was the most amazing husband and friend anyone could ever hope to have. He continues to be loved by his wife‚ family‚ friends‚ coworkers and many people in his community who sent loving cards and letters telling me how he had helped them at some critical time in their life.
A Memorial Scholarship Fund is in progress of being established at Berry College in Rome‚ Georgia to honor Bobby’s commitment to Excellence in Work Ethics to deserving students.
God has blessed me richly for having Bobby Patrick for my husband and best friend since we met in college‚ and I will continue to be blessed by looking for the qualities he expressed such as integrity‚ hard work‚ perseverance‚ commitment‚ humility‚ generosity‚ compassion and love for others‚ as I go about each day in our world. Bobby‚ my love and respect for you is eternal.