Patrick takes advantage of opportunities. He'll tell you there are always unknowns, fears, and anxiety when you take a chance but that the best experiences of his life have been born from the most unexpected opportunities. Like the Marines, the Pentagon, Germany, and love. Pat says his life would be fine having said "no" to any of these, but instead, is significantly enhanced for taking a chance. Plus, by doing so he feels blessed for being able to positively influence the lives of others along the way.
When the offer to join Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes came along Patrick was the Branch Manager for Lake Michigan Credit Union's downtown Kalamazoo office. He says he never expected he'd join the funeral profession but is proud and excited for the opportunity.
Patrick's first job was working at Big Apple Bagel during high school. From there he moved on to First Community Federal Credit Union where he started as a teller and was promoted to Member Service Representative and then to Branch Manager. Patrick enjoyed the challenges of hiring, training and coaching a team for success.
Patrick was born and raised in Kalamazoo. He grew up in Parkview Hills where he spent a lot of time swimming in the pool, fishing in the lake, and playing pool at the club. He graduated with honors from Loy Norrix High School and went on to Kalamazoo Valley Community College. His real education, he says, came from the United States Marine Corps where he earned rank and recognition quickly. His first deployment was to Port au Prince, Haiti on a humanitarian mission. Then to Iraq where his mission was to provide route and convoy security. From there he was assigned to the Pentagon where he served as an event speaker with the ‘Why We Serve' program for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. That lead to an opportunity to be the Logistics Coordinator for a Joint Civilian Orientation Conference where he escorted 80 civilians and public opinion leaders on a tour of U.S. bases overseas, including stops in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Djibouti. During his time in Washington, D.C. Patrick had the honor of meeting General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and George W. Bush, President of the United States.
Patrick is a member of Southridge Reformed Church where he volunteers as a lighting designer for services. Christmas 2014 was his first major service to rig and program, which led to his friend and mentor asking if he'd join him on a lighting project in Germany. Patrick said yes, having no idea what it would entail, much less how to pay for it. Three months later they were in Erfurt, Germany as part of the production team for a worldwide Youth Leadership Conference.
In his spare time, Patrick enjoys photography as a hobby and also "plugs away" at ancestry, saying that, "where we came from is important and helps us understand who we are and why." He builds on the research done by family members from previous generations, but today has the benefit of technology and the online availability of family records.
Patrick is definitely a "glass is half full" type of guy. "I try to live my life by simple rules," he says. "Do what's right, which is not necessarily what's popular. And treat others with respect." His granddad's mission in life was to make people smile. Patrick tries to live by that philosophy too.