Brad Patterson remembers riding on the floor of a pickup truck at age 5, responding with family to a call with the Eastgate Volunteer Fire Department.
His life has revolved around fire and community service ever since then, culminating with the 2019 Firefighter of the Year award he received from the Helena Exchange Club Thursday.
An almost eight-year veteran with the city of Helena, Patterson came to the department after a career as a wildland firefighter with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Tri-lakes Volunteer Fire Department.
The award comes with a $500 donation to the fire department and $500 to the charity selected by the firefighter of the year.
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"He does an outstanding job each day doing his work as one of the most upbeat personalities in the Helena Fire Department," wrote an anonymous nominator.
During an award ceremony Thursday, interim Fire Chief Ken Wood thanked Patterson for his contributions to the wildland side of the fire department's duties.
"I do look forward to Brad coming to work every day, because he really is a bright spot in the day," Wood said.