In Memory of Rep. Jim Patterson
There are so many things that friends, family, and loved ones could say about Rep. Jim Patterson. There are hundreds upon thousands of stories that could be told. I can only tell mine.
I first met Jim Patterson at the Governor's Inauguration Ball in 2011. Maybe it wasn't the actual first time we were introduced, but it's the moment when I knew I'd never forget this guy. Mr. Jim had the most unbelievably likable personality of anyone I had every met. We had talked for less than 10 minutes and I felt like he had known me for years. He had an uncanny ability to connect to relative strangers on a personal level--no doubt a trait that served him well in both his pharmaceutical sales career and his political career. Different from so many people you meet in passing, I immediately felt like Mr. Jim wanted to know me and was instantly a fan of my future.
I soon moved to Oklahoma. I can still remember calling my mom, Rep. Elaine Beech, while the House was in session and she would always say something to the effect of "Jim Patterson says hello!" or "Rep. Patterson wants to know how things are in the Sooner State." His interest in my life made an impact on me. I knew I had someone rooting for me. And he was so genuine about his approach to people. He truly cared.
Fast forward again to 2014. I decided at 25 to run my first marathon--the Chicago Marathon. I don't think I had even completely recovered from that 26.2 miles before Mr. Jim told my mother that I HAD to run Rocket City in Huntsville. Two and a half years later in February 2017, I saw Rep. Patterson at a function in Montgomery and we talked about two things...how I still needed to run Rocket City and how excited he was to be introducing an Autism Bill in the upcoming months. This year, I agreed to run Rocket City. No one was more excited to hear I had registered than Mr. Jim.
On October 2nd, Jim Patterson unexpectedly passed away. His legacy is already solidified and his servant heart has done far more good than I could ever hope to do. The only things larger than his personality are the impact he had on those around him and the love he had for those close to him. Because of his passion for others and his dedication to the fight for autistic children in Alabama, I cannot think of a more fitting tribute than to run the Rocket City Marathon in honor of Rep. Jim Patterson and in a fundraising effort for Autism Speaks.
I was always going to run this race because Mr. Jim wanted me to, but today, I am refocused and running this race FOR Jim Patterson and in honor of the man he was and the work he did for our state. I hope you will join me in support of this cause so near and dear to the heart of such a strong man and dedicated public servant.
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