It was a night full of jokes and laughter at the 7th Annual Charity Date Auction for Project Smile. There was one moment, however, that host Michael Winter swapped his comical demeanor for a more subdued one.
Towards the end of the auction, Winter introduced one of the last bachelors. Instead of asking him to dance or flaunt in front of the audience, he told the story of his heroism. Winter choked up a bit as he told the story of his friend, military veteran and first-responder Matt Patterson and what he did to save Jane Richard, sister of Martin Richard, during the bombing of the Boston Marathon.
Lynn native Matt Patterson was at Abe and Louie’s celebrating Marathon Monday as any normal 31 year old would. When the off duty Lynn firefighter and paramedic heard the explosion he jumped into action, calming the patrons of Abe and Louie’s and heading out to the streets to help. Patterson rescued a young child who turned out to be Jane Richard, sister of Martin Richard, one of the three causalities from the bombing.
Patterson gets frequent updates on the condition of Jane and her mother, but has yet to meet the family. Both Jane and her mother are improving after suffering multiple injuries from the bombing.
“They went through a lot,” Patterson said. “If they ever want to talk or meet me I’m around.”
The last five months since the marathon have been a whirlwind for Patterson. While still working for the Lynn Fire Department, Patterson has been fitting in his charity work and other appearances on his days off. Patterson has also begun doing consulting work, working with police, fire, and EMS departments to teach them about triage and what he has learned from the marathon. While it has been a busy few months for Patterson, he says he enjoys coming to events like the Project Smile Charity Auction.
“It’s a good time and people have a lot of fun, and at the end of the day you raise a lot of money to help people,” Patterson says.
Project Smile is a non-profit dedicated to helping children involved in traumatic events. They collect and donate stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons and small toys to police officers, firefighters, and paramedics to give to children who have gone through horrifying events like domestic violence, devastating house fires, or are coping with the loss of a loved one. Patterson has seen the way that these small tokens of joy light up a child’s face.
“It doesn’t sound like much, but a teddy bear to a six year old kid is probably a big deal.”
The Charity Date Auction is just one of the fundraising events Project Smile puts on each year. This year’s event was hosted by club promoter, Michael Winter, and Radio 96.9 DJ Melissa. The concept is simple: 25 local bachelors and bachelorettes who come from a variety of professions are auctioned off for dates. The bidding starts at $100 and goes up from there. This year’s auction was held at Venu nightclub in Boston. Hundreds of young professionals filled in to see their friends be auctioned off, or to get a hot date. This is Patterson’s second time being auctioned off. Although he is happily in a relationship, he said his girlfriend approved of his participation in both auctions.
“Last time she came and bid on me,” he said. “She was going to come this year but got called into work. I guess I’m for rent tonight.”
Without his girlfriend’s help, Patterson went for $500 at auction, coming in second highest for the men. The event over all raised over $20,000.
With the one-year anniversary just over six months away, Patterson says he still plans on going back to Abe and Louie’s for the 118th Boston Marathon. Until then he will continue with his consulting work, his paramedic job for the Lynn Fire Department, and helping out with more charity events.