The FWC Officer who is believed to have been electrocuted while riding his bike on the Courtney Campbell Causeway helped rescue three women just four days before his death.
Officer Greg Patterson served as a member of the FWC since 2011. Previously, he served in the U.S. Navy.
This morning, Patterson was on his bicycle when authorities believe he hit a downed power line and was electrocuted. He was not on duty. Major Roger Young said the FWC family is shocked about the incident.
Patterson has been recognized for his service. In 2014, he received the FWC Lifesaving Award because he helped a kayaker. Most recently, over the weekend, Officer Patterson rescued three women near the Gandy Bridge.
"Service was just in Greg's blood. That's what he did," Major Young said.
Tony Acosta, who is a boat captain and certified diver, saw the entire rescue. In fact, Acosta himself helped along with Tampa Police and various agencies.
"He seemed to me to be very calm (and) keeping the girls calm," Acosta said.
Acosta said he threw rope over the Gandy Bridge to help. He said he noticed the jet ski and the three women, struggling in the water as help arrived.
"They were screaming (and) crying. It was a real bad situation," Acosta said.
Acosta was ready to jump in, but moments later, two FWC officers arrived on a boat. That's when Officer Patterson jumped into the water.
"I handed the round to him and then another big line in to help two other girls, and lots of officers showed up," Acosta said.
The women were loaded onto the FWC boat. They suffered minor scrapes.
"He's a guy that helps people everyday, and, you know, he's not here anymore," Acosta said.
Acosta learned Wednesday that Officer Patterson had died.
"You don't think that's the way life should work, you know. A hero should be somebody that, you know, can be around for a long time," Acosta said.
Because of Saturday's rescue, the Tampa Police Department was already nominating Officer Patterson for an award. Major Young said they are working with the department to get him the recognition for his service that day, acknowledging it was a team effort.
"That's the kind of things that our officers do everyday," Major Young said.
Patterson is survived by his two daughters.