"Do anything you can to help," his chief replied.
Pat recognized his buddies needed food and water and he single-handedly organized a caravan supplying water and food to the front lines. He purchased a blue flashing light at K-mart and placed in on his truck. The light and his badge were enough to get him through the barricades to feed hundreds of firefighters scattered throughout the back country who refused to leave the blaze and get food at base camp. I witnessed Pat's work first-hand while throwing water bottles and food to the firefighters battling the flames. Pat paid for his own gas and logged over 1,500 miles to take care of his buddies.
Pat Byrne has always been a servant in our community. Four years ago, he heard a voice calling him to become God's representative in our small town. He went back to school and learned theology. After passing all his classes, Pat was ordained as a deacon, which means servant.
I attended our church service and watched Pat deliver his first sermon. He spoke of the love Jesus has for all of us.
"Even if you were the only person on the planet, Jesus would go to Calvary for your sins so you could be with His Father," Pat said.
When the service was over, our church family headed over to the social center for a potluck. Pat asked me to serve as his master of ceremonies. After the building filled to capacity, I walked outside to check on the waiting line which seemed to be without end. Volunteers rushed in with chairs and tables and set up an overflow area in our pastor's back yard. A cool breeze made this an ideal setting for the crowd. A missionary who had flown in from Nicaragua led a prayer of thanks for the outside audience while Deacon Pat prayed inside.
Our pastor played a slide show after dinner showing pictures of Deacon Pat's family and his life as a firefighter. I ended with a couple of personal stories about my good friend.
|Deacon Pat, a retired firefighter at the celebration party.|
|A packed crowd celebrates Deacon Pat's Ordination.|