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July 16, 2013 7:52 am

EDITORIAL: Nic Patrick teaches all vital lessons

Written by Tom Lawrence

Sometimes, you just have to stand back and admire someone.

For us, right now it’s Nic Patrick. Frankly, he is one amazing man, and we can all benefit from paying attention to how he has dealt with a crisis.

Patrick is the rural Cody resident who was surprised and attacked by a sow grizzly bear on June 20. He received terrible injuries from the bear, which acted as a mother bear will when her cubs are present.

She mauled Patrick, inflicting serious damage to his face and body. The details are appalling and frightening just to learn; imagine undergoing it.

Patrick, however, was able to fend the bruin off with a shovel after a pair of attacks. He then headed to his home, where he thought of his family before seeking their assistance.

Aware that his facial injuries would create a disturbing impression on his wife, daughter and grandchildren, he covered his face with a towel, and then had his wife Joyce drive them toward Cody, where he would seek the needed immediate medical attention.

En route, Patrick, 64, told his wife he hoped the bear would not be killed. It was merely doing what a momma grizzly would do in such a setting, he said.

Patrick has maintained that stance. Speaking with the Powell Tribune on July 3, he said he wishes the bear well. Ideally, it will grow “fat and sassy,” he said.

That is truly remarkable. We’d like to think we could have such a noble sentiment after enduring the wounds that Patrick did, but honestly, that is asking a lot of someone.

Not of Nic Patrick, however.

It’s truly ironic that he was attacked by the bear. Patrick is a former Greater Yellowstone Coalition board member, and has advocated for protecting grizzlies.  Even such an attack like this didn’t change his attitude: Patrick is pro-bear.

He also is aware of the evolving climate conditions that have brought grizzlies into closer contact with humans as the big bruins search for food. A grizzly must constantly “shop and hunt” to survive, and a sow with cubs is especially busy seeking nourishment.

Patrick was just in the wrong place at a very wrong time. But even in that, he said the bear didn’t try to kill him, and it could easily have done so twice, in his view.

“It could have been a whole lot worse,” Patrick said.

That seems difficult to accept, until you are reminded that he is alive, recovering and has years to live and enjoy his family, friends and nature. It’s another lesson Patrick is teaching us.

He has undergone extensive medical treatment, and a good deal more is ahead of him. His face is being rebuilt, and there are several more surgeries to undergo, and a long, slow and doubtless painful recovery.

But Patrick said he is ready to get past this and resume his life in as complete a fashion as possible.

“It’s not the end of the world when something like this happens,” he told us.

No, it is not. But his courage and strength are a tremendous reminder of the resilience of the human spirit, and the ability of at least one man to look past a tragic, horrific event and move ahead in his life.

Nic Patrick is a man who can teach a lesson to anyone who complains about a minor scrape or a brief stumble in life. If he can recover from this, and it certainly appears that he will, he will offer instruction in how to survive and triumph no matter what happens in life.

And that’s why we admire Nic Patrick.

2 comments

  • Comment Link July 19, 2013 12:58 pm posted by Jeff Troxel

    Amen Nic. You're a an among men. I admire your courage and spirit.

  • Comment Link July 20, 2013 10:14 am posted by Linda

    The strength and courage of this man is remarkable! Praise the Lord he survived. May God Bless and Keep you Always. You, Sir ARE Amazing! :)

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