This is a guest post written by Chad Cook.
Chad interviewed Pat Hawks, and wrote this paper for a class assignment.
When Patrick was in high school he worked for his school news paper; and he became interested in journalism. At the beginning of his senior year he received an internship at Channel 5 News in Des Moines as a video editor. He would edit the video for the “unimportant” stories on the news. The summer he graduated from high school he became a photo journalist. It was a forty hour a week full time position, and at the same time he was going to Grandview College to get a degree in photo journalism. This full time job became Patrick’s life, and he would get paged to go shoot a news story even during class. “It wasn’t really contusive to getting a good education, school wise, as far as getting an education as a photographer it was a wonderful experience.”
One of Patrick’s more memorable moments was when he and Marisa Mendelson were sent to go take pictures of the road during a snow storm. So they went out there and they went about half way into a ditch to get the shot and left because Mendelson was nervous. “We were risking safety for the story and I wasn’t going to have it.” He said that it was “a nice bonding experience” and Pat and Mendelson became good friends.
One night Pat went to go do a shoot a restaurant for the 10 pm news, and the shot went well, but while they were leaving he heard a CRUNCH. He got out of the car and realized that he had left the $20,000 camera on top off the news van. It had fallen off and he had ran over it. It would have been a disaster. “But I am crafty,” he said. He gathered up all the pieces and put them in a garbage bag. Pat returned to the station and waited until everyone had left, and put the entire camera back together. He was there until four in the morning until he fixed it. “It was pretty much like Legos.”
One night Patrick was doing a shoot in down town Des Moines. He was having a hard time getting a good signal because of all the buildings. Patrick thought that if he moved the antenna about eight inches forward he could get a better signal. He didn’t have time to lower and raise the antenna, so Patrick decided to drive the van with the antenna up. That was highly illegal. He drove the van eight inches and he heard another CRUNCH!!!. When he got out the saw that the antenna mast had knocked down a street lamp. Patrick didn’t time to worry about that and he made the shot.
He called the his lower boss and told him what happened. His lower boss said, “This bad, really really bad, not just for you but for the station.” Since driving with the mast up was extremely illegal he told Pat to say that he raised the mast into the light instead, of driving with it up.. Patrick didn’t want to get anyone else in trouble, so he lied. The next day he received a phone call saying that it was impossible for him to raise the mast into the light poll because the there was a sensor that wouldn’t let it raise of there was anything within ten feet of it. Patrick confessed, but it was too late. Channel 5 had no choice other than to fire Patrick. “Well I learned not to try and lie my way out of trouble because trouble has a way of catching up to you.”
“As difficult as it was for me to lose that job, I actually think it was kind of a blessing because looking back now I can’t see myself in TV news. My life would have taken a completely different turn.”
While he was working at Channel 5 he had applied to be a counselor at Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp that he had attended. They called him back and said they were full. The Thursday after his incident with the light poll he received a call from the director at Riverside. He said they had an opening for him. Patrick was overjoyed to hear this and went Riverside to be a counselor. Patrick had a great an relatively uneventful summer at Riverside and he reconnected with God. “It was absolutely a turning point!” When he came back from Riverside he started to teaching Sunday school and became involved with Awaken which is a dramatic mime that tells the story of Jesus.
The next spring Patrick went up early to Riverside to do maintenance work on the camp. He was “mowing like it was a regular job.” That spring there had been a some really bad rain storms, and there was a lot of branches around camp. Patrick was asked to clear the roads of branches and then burn them. “I thought this sounds wonderful… and by definition fire is fun.” He burned the branches in the middle of a field full of dead grass. The grass caught fire and the field slowly started to burn. Patrick tried to put out the fire but it was too big. He called the head maintenance guy, and they started to dig a trench to contain it, but the fire was spreading too fast. They finally called the fire department. It took them about forty-five minutes to put out that fire with five of the big tankers. The entire field was gone. Fortunately no cabins were harmed. “I learned small fires quickly become very big fires… and you have to be prepared.”
After the summer was over Patrick took a position as assistant youth director at Zion Lutheran Church in Des Moines. One night when the youth were being “especially rowdy and even mean”. Patrick knew he had to do something to get our attention, so he told all of them to get into the fifteen seat van and he started to drive north. “I thought a change in scenery would be nice for everybody.” He drove for about twenty-five and minutes. The entire ride Patrick had a stone face and whenever someone would ask him where he were going to he didn’t really ever give a clear answer. “It didn’t really take long for people to realize that something was out of the ordinary.” He told everyone to get out. It was below freezing and some of the youth didn’t even have coats. Patrick then read them the story of the destruction Sodom and Gommorrah. He compared them to the people in those cities. “I think everyone got the message.” So they all went back in the van and turned around, but the van became stuck in the snow. Everyone got out to push but it was no good. Finally a farmer came and towed the van out of the snow. “When I look back at being a youth director at Zion that was definitely one of the highlights because I think every learned their lesson.” This incident has come to be known a the “Madrid freakout”.
At end of the next summer Patrick resigned from his position as youth director and moved to Omaha to be with his girlfriend Christine who he met while working at camp. He now works for a doctor’s office a the tech guy. He jokingly said that his official title is “monkey boy”. Last October he and Christine became engaged, and they plan on getting married in October of this year.