INNATE TRAITS of Duty, Honor, Courage
by Cate Murway
“That which we make important, we make happen.” Robert Barton Patrick
Freedom isn’t free, just ask any Marine. Injury has an extensive, life long, broader effect for many of the heroes returning from combat, more than the physical healing process alone. Robert Barton Patrick, Hellertown H.S. ‘67 [now Saucon Valley H.S.]/ Muhlenberg College/ Antioch College auxiliary campus joined the Navy Reserve in his junior year of high school and attended Hospital Corpsman School in Great Lakes, IL. Bob was born under the 81 foot high electric "Star of Bethlehem" on South Mountain, the middle child in a brood of nine to his late parents, who met through friends, Stanley Robert Patrick, born in Catasauqua, a suburb of Allentown and Agatha Ellen [McCarthy], born in Kearney, Northern Ireland. He wrestled and played drums in a band, dubbed “Magic”, starting his own “march to a different drummer” regime. He was also a part of the AV Club as the announcer at the school’s football games. During his service career, HM Hospital Corpsman II Bob was a flight deck corpsman earning a Purple heart among his several other medals.
"Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen."
Badge of Military Merit established by George Washington in 1782
Bob left the Marines in 1971 and began in-home demonstrations and direct-selling Kirby vacuums and then was hired as a mixologist, perfecting the skill of preparing mixed drinks at the Village Inn in Allentown for a year or so. Position acquisitions included manager of a Howard Johnson’s in Valley Forge and assistant food and beverage manager in the Holiday Inn in Coatesville. In 1974, he joined ARAMARK, a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management and health care services, of which he was part.
Bob had been married to the petite R.N. Christine Feeny in January 1987, a staff nurse with 4 children, whom he met doing rounds at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore where he was on the administrative team.
He came to Bristol Borough “through the blessing of God” after being laid off from ARAMARK in 1995. This sharp, intelligent person with strong moral values had found himself in a grave situation of economic desolation. His newest housemate is very small and compact, slightly longer than he is tall, a 4 month old Shih Tzu named “Atzami Dog”.
Veterans of all wars have suffered from the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD], although the mental health community did not recognize the disorder until years after the Vietnam War. According to new grandfather, Marine Corps veteran Daniel H. Fraley, Lincoln H.S.’65, the county government's Director of Veterans Affairs in Doylestown, “Bob has done great service in the area with his concern for homeless veterans.” Bob admits that he has taken veterans in to assist them “on rare occasions when a veteran is in desperate need”. His “whatever it takes” attitude in action!
“For it is in giving that we receive”
Loretta M. Vasso, M.S., CAC, Community Mobilizer for the Bristol Borough Community Partnership adamantly confirmed, “Bob is invaluable! He is constantly helpful and sharing with his time and ideas and his website work. We awarded him with a “Certificate of Appreciation” at the BBCP Meet & Greet at the Grundy Recreation Center in January. Bob has helped advance the mission of the partnership.” Resource and Info Chair on the BBCP Executive Board Bob Patrick has proven his passion for the “mission” and the will to make a difference in an abundance of ways using his plethora of skill-sets and experience. He unselfishly volunteers in this multi-strategy approach of engaging, empowering, and linking the community together and will be documenting the “Oral History Project”on the BBCP site as well. He is also working with the Borough “HOME AGAIN” initiative to “help finding your way home” for homeless men in Bristol Borough. As the ripples caused by a flung stone stir the surface of an entire pond, his efforts spread in ever widening eternal circles, beyond all his anticipation. He has a creative approach to problem solving and a penchant for initiating action. He is also a member of the VFW, American Legion, DAV, Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce and the Historic Bristol Borough Revitalization Task Force.
"Things may come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustle." -Abraham Lincoln
What does it take to make life work? His plan and trusting his own instincts is his road map to success. It took him from where he was to being on the road to where he wants to be. When one fails to plan, one plans to fail. Being comfortable in his own shoes puts others at ease, encouraging confidence in all kinds of unique ways. Overcoming his PTSD is not about his silent unspeakable memories he carries, but the way in which he carries them. Doing so even when it seems that the world is conspiring against him is what makes him great. He is proving that successful people do not leave anything to fate. They make a decision to achieve something then they follow their dreams forsaking everything that prevents them from doing so with the mindset that failure is not an option.
His Radcliffe Street residence is home to several prospering enterprises: OPERATION PAY IT FORWARD, a PA nonprofit organization of OPTIMAL FINANCIAL GROUP that is owned and operated by this 100% Service Disabled Vietnam Veteran. He is a cash flow specialist broker, an alternative to banks, working with doctors, group practices and medical equipment suppliers. Few of us ever really pursue the dream that is within each of us, but it is by so doing that Bob has unleashed tremendous, perhaps unstoppable internal power. It is obvious that he comprehends Aristotle’s three basic steps that you must take to get what you want out of life- understand that you can achieve success, define what success represents for you and organize your life around its achievement. Bob has progressed from the theory to the practice, setting out with a goal and then doing it without question. He realizes what is most important in this life and then he goes for it!
"I am looking forward to working with Mr. Patrick with the "Adopt a Marine" project. He is an intelligent man with great ideas. I feel the focus has been lost because of the presidential campaign, election, and how the candidates are going to get our troops home after they are in office. What has been forgotten are the troops that are overseas and their daily needs. This has to be brought back to the forefront and we need to help them in any way we can." Samantha Kasperitis, BHS ‘09
Bob recently became a real “model” citizen when he appeared on the cover of The American Cash Flow Journal, a trade publication dedicated to delivering high-quality, timely, and relevant information to the Cash Flow Industry and its participants.
Keeping fit is not just a fad for Bob, it’s a way of life as he “exercises his options” and swims and uses the steam room at LA Fitness.
A favorite song is the “Prayer of St. Francis”
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.”
His favorite color is the powerful cobalt blue as it incites passion. Sirloin steak, a baked sweet potato and broccoli is always an excellent meal and Annabella’s good service team always presents him with the perfect homemade sausage and pepper stromboli. He enjoys the contemporary instrumental music of Yanni, a self-taught pianist, keyboardist, and composer. Bob has been deeply impacted by Neale Donald Walsch's film “Conversations with God” that chronicles the dramatic true journey of a struggling man and his transformation from your everyday guy to a homeless bum struggling just to stay alive.
Ask Bob about the latest BBCP raffle tickets. Tickets are available now and at all the Borough festivals- he has donated the 1st prize that is a 7 day/6 night 5 Star resort at Pompana Beach, FL “time share” and there will be additional cash prizes.
This veterans’ advocate has harnessed his innate powers and is always positively ignited into action.
Bob knows when the time is right to either stand up or stand aside.
He truly believes in “lead, follow or get out of the way.”
“I heard the sound of taps one night,
when everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
and felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
that taps had meant "Amen,"
when a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.”
Kelly Strong, Commander US Coast Guard
To recommend a Bristol Borough Character to be spotlighted:
American Heritage Dictionary
1.Moral or ethical strength. 2.A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities.
December 1, 2008 7:27 AM
Bucks County Courier Times
The thing I like best about dog lovers is that they are able to lose all reason and perspective when they look into a pair of soft brown eyes. They just lose it.
That is just how it is with Bob Patrick of Bristol.
Bob's a decorated and disabled Vietnam veteran, and “Dad” to Atzami Dog (as in, “That's a my dog!”) Atzami is an 11-month-old, all-black Shih Tzu about the size of a, well, picture a Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster chicken with ears and fur.
Wherever there is Bob, there is Atzami scampering alongside him. Not a macho dog, but a much-loved ball of fluff.
Bob and Atzami live near Maryanne Lalli's Cannoli Coffee Bar and Gelateria at 129 Radcliffe St. and stop in to see her so regularly that they've become friends.
“Many times, he's come to see how we are doing, if we need anything,” said Sarah Petto, Maryanne's niece and Cannoli's manager. “In the heat of the summer, he was there with a fan. Always checking in.”
Always with Atzami Dog in tow.
Seems Bob has a reputation for doing good deeds all around town, and always for the sole purpose of seeing the relief on the receiver's face. Bob's life has been a hard one. It means he understands what a friendly helping hand can mean. It's why he uses his home to run Operation Pay It Forward, a non-profit that works to connect needy veterans with services.
Recently, Bob wasn't in any condition to help. Atzami had been hit by a car.
The little thing's pelvis was crushed and the dog was in a lot of pain, and would be until Bob could find the dough to help him.The accident happened after a neighborhood friend offered to watch the dog while Bob shampooed his rugs. Atzami is generally housebroken, but hey, no one's perfect.
Bob's friend was lightly holding Atzami's leash when the dog saw a squirrel and darted into traffic. The first car missed. The second did not.
The crumpled Atzami was rushed to CARES, an emergency veterinary hospital in Middletown. It cost Bob $2,000 he didn't have to get his pal stabilized. He couldn't afford to leave him at CARES, so he took Atz home. Thing was, the doc said Atz would have no quality of life without corrective surgery. The cost would be another $3,000, maybe more.
Bob was frantic. People were telling him to just let the dog go. Put it down, they said.
Bob wasn't about to just let go of something that brought him so much joy and comfort.
“I bought a dog. My buddy got hit,” he said.
Maryanne couldn't ignore Bob's distress. She started calling around for help, and ended up with a phone number for Hope For The Animals. It's a rescue outfit that's fundraising to build a no-kill sanctuary. It also has a “Boris and Natasha Fund” that's earmarked for emergencies like Bob's.
Hope's executive director, Yvonne Neimann, was sympathetic when Bob called, but the emergency fund was depleted until its next fundraiser in May. But, hold on, she told Bob. “Let me see what I can do.”
What she could do was reach out to Hope's network of donors. Within hours, she called Bob with good news. Atzami Dog's surgery by Dr. David Puerto would be covered in full. Bob wept.
The dog's prognosis is excellent, with a full recovery expected.
When Sarah Petto picked up the phone at Cannoli, it was Bob on the other end and he was bawling the good news. And that meant Sarah was crying when she called Maryanne to tell her “the greatest news!” And that got Maryanne to bawling and talking about angels.
Which made me a little weepy. A bunch of otherwise sensible people crying tears of joy for a chicken-sized Shih Tzu, which is nuts, when you think about it.
But all's well that ends well for a man and his beast and for the friends and strangers who made it so, which makes it a good story.
Atza way I like it.
Kate Fratti, whose column appears on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, suggests Hope for the Animals be on your gift-giving list if possible. Visit Hopefortheanimals.org or call 215-321-1798. Maybe make a donation in memory of a pet you're missing.
Just the facts: Stop the yelling and do your homework
Bucks County Courier Times
September 18, 2009
By Robert Patrick
What if ... teachers started yelling and screaming at each other in front of the students about information that some of the teachers disagreed with? Would that serve as a positive role model to resolve our differences? How long would those screaming teachers have a job if they continued to do it time and time again?
Is this any different from what we are seeing on TV from a minority of people screaming and yelling at town hall meetings? Mature, responsible and intelligent people know to have their facts straight before entering a discussion where there is disagreement. Yes, the current health care reform bill is 1,018 pages, but all the screaming and yelling is about a handful of issues. These can be easily researched by anyone by going to thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z:
This Web site breaks it down to the topics in each part of the bill as it is right now.
After every election, I am no longer a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green Party or any other affiliation. I consider myself a centrist American first and foremost because we either are part of the problem or part of the solution.
Those on the extreme right or left are blinded from the truth that will allow for bipartisan discussions and solutions that are grounded in facts. This is not about Republican versus Democrat or liberal versus conservative, but an American issue. This is about access to health care, fairness, efficiency, cost and quality.
Most people agree health care reform is needed and needed now. The current bill addresses many of the challenges that Americans are faced with every day. President Obama is correct in that the burgeoning cost of health care is bankrupting families, businesses, local and state governments and now can do the same to the federal government.
There was an article in the Aug. 21 edition of the Courier Times that stated it quite clearly. The headline: "Pa. health care premiums skyrocket." The Associated Press story said a "new study shows family health care premiums have grown more than five times faster than income this decade in Pennsylvania. Families USA said Thursday that health insurance premiums rose by 95 percent, while median earnings rose less than 18 percent from 2000 to 2009."
What will happen if we take no action on this bill? I've read that every 24 minutes a person dies because he or she did not have health insurance. Currently, there are 46 million Americans without insurance.
Nine million children do not get proper health care because of the lack of insurance.
More than eight out of 10 of the uninsured are working families. They go to the emergency rooms when they get sick. A visit to the emergency room can cost up to five times more than a visit to an urgent-care center. Emergency room treatment for non-emergency medical conditions is a major contributor to the rising cost of health care and for the most part the people receiving the care cannot pay the bill.
And if not this plan, what plan? Romney's?
According to a CNN online Aug. 20 article about his plan, "The Massachusetts model, however, does have its problems. Experts say it doesn't control rising health care costs - something Romney insisted must be tackled on a national level. Michael Tanner, the director of health and welfare studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, said that the Romney care program plan costs taxpayers a 'great deal of money.' "
So while Romney's plan has some very good points, it fails to address major cost and taxpayer issues. So again, if not the current bill in Congress, what plan? I was taught if I don't have a viable plan to get off the island, I'd better not be putting down the plan the next person came up with that has the potential to get us off the island.
So to those yellers and screamers on both sides of the aisle ... GROW UP. Work to make sure you have facts from unbiased and credible sources; so we can intelligently discuss and/or disagree with facts intelligently.