Residents Pay Respects at Chris Patterson Visitation in Batavia
As snow silently fell, the 20-year-old soldier arrived at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Batavia after a procession. Here are some images from outside West Aurora High School and the church.
This weekend Chris Patterson is among those who know him best.
Patterson passed by thousands at the high school and perhaps several dozens more as his procession headed to the church. He was accompanied by police, fire crews, members of the Patriot Guard Riders and his family.
Patterson, a Indiana National Guardsman, died on Jan. 6 with three other soldiers in Afghanistan after a roadside bomb went off underneath their vehicle. He was 20 years old.
Droves of people braved the snow to come pay their respects to Patterson during a seven-hour visitation. A memorial service and celebration of song for Patterson is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.
Friends and family are solemn, but they spoke sweetly earlier this month to Batavia Patch about Patterson, the man with the bright red hair who had a gift for music and people.
"He always had a smile on his face," Kevin Warfel said of his friend. "I never saw him in a bad mood, he was always happy, just a really outstanding guy."
Show of Support at West
As seen in the photos on this page, Patterson was greeted by thousands of students and staff members on the West Aurora campus. The crowd also included veterans, neighbors and friends.
Fire crews had a large flag hoisted into the sky for Patterson's arrival.
Patterson's procession went by the West Aurora High School auditorium because he spent so much of his time there. He graduated from the school in 2009.
"He was really involved with Choir, the Chess Team and he worked closely with our stage crew in the auditorium," said Whitney Martino, West Aurora activities director. Martino spoke to Batavia Patch earlier this month about Patterson.
Patterson's death was felt deeply by those in the high-school building. His mother Mary works in the school's copy room and has been on staff for about six years.
"West you did a great thing by honoring SPC Christopher Alexander Patterson," said Laurie Saul on the West Aurora HS Facebook page. "Please continue to support this family and lift up our troops."
Patterson was a 12B Combat Engineer with the Indiana National Guard. His unit was based out of Valparaiso, IN, where he also attended classes at Valparaiso University.
Mary Patterson told CBS 2 News that her son did not have to go with his activated National Guard unit, but he wanted to because he enlisted for his homeland.
"He was someone who wanted to help our country and that’s what he died for ... defending our freedom," Warfel said.
Patterson at Immanuel Lutheran
Warfel met Patterson through Immanuel Lutheran Church—they were in the same confirmation class. The two became good friends, especially after a youth group trip in 2007.
The Pattersons have attended Immanuel Lutheran for over 10 years, said Ron Weidler, senior pastor at Immanuel Lutheran.
Patterson was a very involved, caring and faithful person, Weidler said. Patterson would always attend services with his parents whenever he was back home from Valparaiso.
"The fact that we're not going to see Christopher here again brings great pain ... except we’ll see him in God’s time," Weidler said.
Patterson's memorial service begins today, Sat., Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church. The service will be streamed live over the Internet at batv.us. This service will only viewable online, not through the BATV channel on regular televisions.
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To read Patterson's full obituary, click here.
To read a grade-school teacher’s remembrances of Patterson, click here.
To read our initial report on Patterson, click here.