At last: AB finally honors marshal who perished in ’32 Town hall fire
On Sept. 10, 1932, the original Atlantic Beach Town Hall burned, critically injuring Town Marshal Paul M. Patrick; and tragically, on September 12, 1932, Marshal Patrick died of injuries he sustained in the fire. The Town Hall was completely destroyed, along with all City records, and was not rebuilt on the site (near what is now One Ocean Resort). City records created after his death are clear that Marshal Patrick, who also served Neptune Beach and Manhattan Beach, died while in the performance of his duties with no references to the cause of the fire or any investigation.
Near 90 years passed without the City of Atlantic Beach aptly recognizing Marshal Patrick for his service and sacrifice. Nor had the City properly recognized the impact that this tragedy had on his family, including his widow, Jamie, and four young children.
Family members of Marshal Patrick recently reached out to the City, and on May 5, the City held a recognition ceremony and wreath-laying to honor the first and only Atlantic Beach law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty. It was a very moving day – as 17 of Marshal Patrick’s family, many from out of town – were on hand for the special and long-overdue occasion.
As Atlantic Beach Police Chaplain Percy Golden said, Marshal Patrick’s recognition was “delayed but not denied.”
It was the least we could do – and we’re far from done. In addition to issuing a mayoral proclamation and placing a historic marker at the former Town Hall site in Marshal Patrick’s honor, the City is striving to pay long-overdue homage to the fallen officer by taking steps for his name to be inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
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