Chuck Patterson

Around Here, We Call Him a Superhero!

At the age of 79, Chuck Patterson went through an absolutely harrowing event, and lived to tell about it. He was out fishing in his boat and hit a sandbar. Chuck was thrown out of and under the boat. “The boat came up over me and broke two vertebrae and also mangled my left foot. I passed out and when I came to, thought I was in about 12 feet of water. I thought I was for sure going to drown. Turns out I was in shallow water, so tried to stand up, but kept falling to my left. That’s when I realized that my foot was seriously injured,” Chuck recounted. “I saw that the boat was up on the sandbar, and started crawling, praying that I wouldn’t run into deep water.”

Chuck managed to get back into the boat. Luckily, his cell phone had stayed in the boat when he went over. Just as fortunate, he had a signal, not always the case when out on the water. He immediately made two phone calls: the first to his wife Mary Ann and the second to 911. “I didn’t want Mary Ann to get a call that would scare her half to death, so called her and said not to worry, an ambulance is on the way, but looks like I cut my foot off,” he recalled. Once medical help was on the way, Chuck used his belt to make a tourniquet, so that he would not bleed to death from the severe foot injury. “It took them about 45 minutes to get to me,” he said.

Snell's: Chuck on Cross Lake
Snell’s: Chuck on Cross Lake

Later he heard that several people had run up on the same sandbar, but they were going slower so were not thrown from their boats. “I would caution people to be very careful out in lakes and rivers. The moving water can change the landscape underneath from one day to the next. I had fished there many times before and it wasn’t there. That day, it was.”

With respect to his treatment at Snell’s: “I love those people. It takes a little while to go through the process to get a prosthesis, so I got to know them all pretty well—they became like family to me. Especially Mary, we like them all, but we love her. The folks at Snell’s are so honest and forthright, you can’t help but like them.”

Chuck, a Korean War Air Force veteran, and Mary Ann have been married since 1952 and are still going strong. They have three adult sons, all of whom live nearby. They are also blessed with six grandkids and two great grandchildren, who live in Washington state, where his granddaughter’s husband is currently stationed.

Today, at age 83, he still fishes every week—from a boat. You can find him out on Cross Lake Thursdays and Friday mornings when the weather is good.