(WBIR) An East Tennessee man who spent his career helping and teaching others was laid to rest Sunday. Long-time emergency response worker Ronnie Patterson, passed away from a heart attack on Christmas day, and was buried Sunday at Hamblen Memory Garden.
Ronnie Patterson touched the lives of people around the region. That's why his last farewell brought in people from all different parts of the country.
Patterson worked around the state for numerous emergency services. In recent years, he worked for Medic One.
Patterson's daughter Ronna Gregory said she was amazed by everyone who came out to support her family. Although she said her dad was the kind of guy who didn't want a big ceremony.
"He would have said, I don't need all that. I don't need that. But honestly to see the lives that he has touched and the people he has mentored and loved come out to love him and love us. I think he would be more than blessed," said Gregory.
Patterson's son followed in the footsteps of his father by joining a career of helping others. Nathan Patterson was recently certified with his paramedic license. His first official day on the job was Christmas Day, the same day his father passed away.
Now, his son will work every day to make his old man proud.
"That's my goal, to make him proud as much as I can," said Nathan Patterson.
Sunday afternoon was Ronnie Patterson's last ride in an ambulance as his family, coworkers, and friends helped lay him to rest.
Bagpipes welcomed him to his graveside, sparking some of his friends' memories of the good times they shared with Patterson.
Julie Brooks worked with Patterson. When she first met him, she acted as a test dummy for an EMT National Registry Test.
"I would be laying down on the floor, and other people would be boarding me or putting a collar on me. I would look over where he was sitting and I would happen to glance at his socks. They were Mickey Mouse socks. He wore them all the time. And that was just one trademark he and I had. It was a bond and we joked about it every single time I'd see him," said Brooks.
The Patterson family says goodbye to their loved one... but at the same time, welcomed the hundreds of supporters into their life.
"The family appreciates everybody's support. Everything they have done for my father. And I love him and am going to miss him, but I know for a fact I will see him one day again in heaven," said Nathan Patterson.