SEMINOLE — The last words written on Dale Patterson's Facebook page speak of unforeseen hardships testing a man's faith.
“When the Lord sees our attention is drifting away from him, He might use hardships to draw us back so that we'll give Him His proper place,” he wrote last week.
Patterson, a 56-year-old volunteer firefighter for the Strother Fire Department in Seminole County, died Thursday after getting into a fight with a fellow volunteer firefighter.
Now, Fire Chief Nicholas Nadeau said he and his crew are feeling that test of faith.
“We are a very tight knit family,” Nadeau said. “Dale was a God-fearing Christian. I think he would tell us to pick our heads up and move on.”
According to the Seminole Producer, Nadeau said Patterson and another firefighter were fighting in the fire station when Patterson's head struck a hard surface.
He was taken to Seminole County Medical Center and then by helicopter to OU Medical Center, where he died.
The Seminole County sheriff's office is investigating the incident.
No arrests have been made. The name of the other firefighter was not released.
Nadeau said Patterson joined the fire department six years ago after he finished a career as a narcotics agent in New Mexico. He described him as a good leader with a strong spirit. Through his six years at the department, he made his way up to captain and firehouse chaplain.
“He would give the shirt off his back in a blizzard,” Nadeau said.
He said the station is grouping together and working to support the other firefighter.
“We are here to support the family and the other firefighter,” Nadeau said. “Whatever the outcome may be, we'll be there for him.”