Malahat Fire Chief Rob Patterson, tireless in his efforts to keep both residents of his own area and Malahat motorists safe, died suddenly Jan. 2.
Son, Cameron Patterson, posted on Facebook: “He was a great teacher, father, husband, and mentor. I know he’d like us to remember the good times, what he’s taught us all and to take that knowledge and pass it on; he will be missed but his legacy will last for ever.”
Many firefighters from different areas are mourning him on Facebook, with comments like “RIP Sir”, and “RIP Chief Patterson. We continue to serve in your honour” and praised the way he often spent weekends training other departments.
Cody Tetley has started an internet fundraising campaign.
In a message to kick it off, he said, “Tonight we lost a true hero. Rob Patterson was a father and husband. Most knew him as chief of the Malahat Volunteer Fire Department. He has always been heavily involved in the hall and community, always being there to lend a hand to anyone that needed it.
“We are asking for anyone who can donate to [the] family in their time of need. We need to get Cam home to his family, [and] hope to help lift the cost of the funeral, along with enabling them to take time off work to cope with their loss of a loved one. [He was] the most amazing father, friend, firefighter. “
Patterson and his department would even go into areas with no fire protection to help homeowners fight fires.
A Facebook post by John James praised the entire Malahat department: “Malahat FD does so much with so little. Probably the highest per capita call loads involving serious incidents anywhere.”
The Malahat area is within the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the CVRD issued a statement Jan. 3 expressing “great sadness” at “the loss of our extraordinary volunteer, Fire Chief Rob Patterson”.
“Rob was intelligent, caring and family-oriented. He was a man who really cared about the people in his department and the community. The job he did was second to none,” said Kerry Davis, Mill Bay/Malahat regional director.
Cowichan Valley Volunteer Fire Rescue Departments are working together to provide continuation of essential fire rescue/service to their communities while the Malahat department deals with this tragic loss.
“He made a difference in what he did,” said Conrad Cowan, Manager Public Safety. “He will be missed.”
Patterson was also a consummate professional, making a significant effort to keep everyone up-to-date on the state of the highway — far beyond his responsibility as fire chief. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/pattersons-a-fire-fighting-family to make a donation to help his family.