48-year-old Pat Richardson was the picture of health. The Newton Police Lieutenant had a heart attack and died over the Labor Day weekend. Tonight, the department is mourning the loss of a leader and friend.
On Sunday, Richardson went for a jog. That’s how he stayed in shape to keep up with officers nearly half his age.
“That makes it hard for us for a lot of us just for the fact that he's extremely health. Probably the fastest guy on the police department. He was very competitive. Even at 48, he wanted to beat all the 20 year olds,” says Police Chief Jeff Hoebelheinrich.
When fellow officers heard about Richardson's heart attack, they dropped everything to be with him and his family at the hospital.
“We were all hoping that we'd get him back as soon as he was healed up and ready to go. I don't think anybody was expecting the final outcome,” says Officer Brian Foster.
Richardson leaves behind a wife, three children and a grandchild.
Hoebelheinrich says fellow officers looked up to him. But he was more than just a leader.
“You can't ever replace Pat as a friend,” he says.
A memorial is parked in front of the police department. The windshield of the squad car is covered with a black sash with a blue line that represents law enforcement. Family, friends and people in the community added flowers to the memorial. Officers are wearing black bands over their badges . Not only in honor of their friend, but as a reminder that he’s really gone.
“I know something is going to come up and we're going to say, ‘Oh Pat needs to do that,” says Hoebelheinrich.
“We're all expecting to be sitting here for briefing and have Pat walk through the door. To know that he's not going to walk through that door again is tough, I think, for all of us,” says Foster.
Richardson's visitation is Wednesday from 5 to 8 PM at Wallace Funeral Home. His funeral will take place at 11 AM Thursday at Community Heights Alliance Church in Newton.