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SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Surrounded by American flags, standing nearby a West Kingston Fire Station truck, about a hundred Elks Lodge and community members awaited the arrival of South Kingstown’s hero Joe “Tiger” Patrick on Saturday afternoon.
As Patrick turned the corner in a Wakefield Fire Station truck and descended from the symbol that marked his journey he began a little more than a month ago, he felt overwhelmed by the amount of support from friends and family before him.
On Aug. 7, Patrick set out to Washington D.C., where he would walk to the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. to Shankesville, Penn. to Ground Zero in New York City, in time to mark the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. After living in New York City when the World Trade Center was attacked, Patrick volunteered all he could to help victims, their families and first responders. Ten years later, however, Patrick felt he did not do enough. So to honor the victims and first responders of Sept. 11, Patrick embarked on an incredible journey, walking over 600 miles to Ground Zero in 32 days carrying the American flag alongside him.
After hundreds of miles on his feet, which left him feeling sore and exhausted, when Patrick reached the edge of the George Washington Bridge with 10 miles left to Ground Zero he felt uplifted.
“It was very emotional. The last mile to Ground Zero, Pennsylvania firefighters I met along the way met me at the West Highway. They saw my flag and escorted me down the Port Authority,” Patrick said.
Patrick heard that his friends at the Elks Lodge were preparing a celebration for him, but he had no idea it would be of this magnitude.
"It blew my mind riding a fire truck,” Patrick said.
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