On Sunday afternoon more than 150 people gathered at the Orange Volunteer Fire Headquarters on Orange Center Road for a Celebration of Life for Past Asst. Chief Roger Patrick.
Before the event began, Roger’s sister, Marcia, went around the room and greeted just about every person who attended and thanked them personally for coming. She directed their attention to a big screen TV and a small laptop computer on opposite sides of the room that were simultaneously playing a slide show of photos of Roger from his childhood to the present.
She heard stories from many of them, including Woodbridge Firefighter Emil Mattei who was friends with Roger for decades. “We used to compare mustaches and tease one another about whose was better,” he told Marcia.
Younger firefighters told her that Roger was a mentor to them and tried to express how much he meant.
The Orange Volunteer Firefighters, all wearing their dress uniforms filed into the room making two lines one on the right, the other on the left, with Chief Charles Gagel standing front and center.
He gave a brief introduction, stating, “Roger was Roger.” and he shared a few anecdotes such as how Engine 1 tot its new paint job, which anyone in the fire department would understand.
A prayer was offered for him, then Gagel asked Asst. Police Chief Anthony Cuozzo to make the call. … “As is customary in the fire service…” he said, then the police dispatcher made the last call announcement over the radio. CLICK HERE
Roger’s family formed a reception line at the front of the room, where everyone offered their condolences before having lunch together and sharing stories, which, according to firefighter Joe Oleschuck would take more than two hours to get to all of them.
Roger faithfully served in the Orange Volunteer Fire Depatment from June 1971 until his death on Feb. 15, 2013. He will be sorely missed.