Our Unsung Hero for this month is very well deserved! Friendsville resident Pat Schmidt embodies all the qualities you expect out of a hero of her community. What I’ve learned about this special lady is that she has simply spent her lifetime showing others charity, compassion, and generosity, freely given to those in her community and anyone else in her path.
Pat Schmidt was born and raised in Friendsville, MD. She and her husband Carl still reside on what was her grandparents farm known as “Ross Farm”. Pat is the oldest of ten siblings and daughter of the late James “Pappy” Ross and Leona “Flash” Vitez-Ross. Growing up on Ross Farm, she watched her father do work for others in his spare time, many who needed his help but could not pay. The abundance from their own garden was regularly shared with anyone who needed food for their families. The type of care Pat has provided to others began in those early days with her parents and grandparents and has never wavered since.
As I ask people from the community who’ve known Pat, each has multiple stories and examples of how she has helped them personally and so many others. Among her many thoughtful deeds, Pat transports and assists the elderly with getting food and attending their medical appointments, retrieving their medicines and getting them back home safely. She conducts clothing give-aways at her church and picks up from the charitable pantry and delivers items to those who cannot leave their homes. Many have reported her frequently giving out funds directly from her own paycheck, in-the-moment without hesitation to assist in getting what they need whether it be medicine, food, or other essentials.
Recent Unsung Hero Ina Hicks says “When you and I get up in the morning we go about our routine and get ready for the day ahead. When Pat sits up in bed, the first thing she thinks about is who needs her help that day”. Hicks is also a recipient of a regular jug of spring water fetched by Pat from Ross Farm, something she does for several others to lift their spirits and provide something special for them.
Hicks told me another occurrence that is just wonderful. Pat often brings balloons and cake as a surprise for birthdays of different residents of her building, some who are elderly and often alone. She brings it as a surprise and invites others to celebrate with the birthday recipient. Hicks noted that “Pat is a Christian, and she shows everyday the selflessness that Jesus taught”.
Over the years Pat has taken-in children through social services, caring for them as they are processed and assigned foster families. Often these children were brought to her home late at night and other unpredictable times due to their urgent needs. She provided what was needed: love, food, clothing, and a roof over their head.
Friendsville resident Theresa Wells first heard about Pat many years ago when she was collecting clothing for some foster children. Theresa’s first in-person encounter with Pat was when she was leaving the Allegany Fairgrounds and had car trouble. At this first chance meeting Pat insisted that she take her car since hers wouldn’t run. Theresa took her car, even though they were virtually strangers!
Theresa says Pat “carries every person’s sorrow. She is an angel to everyone, the caretaker of the people, and does anything and everything for those in need.” Theresa cannot imagine Friendsville without Pat. Theresa admires Pat for being a true example of a Christian and considers Pat a true angel on earth, putting the needs of others before herself.
Theresa’s daughter Patty Wells cannot remember when she first met Pat, simply that “whenever someone is looking to help someone else, Pat is most likely nearby! She helps whoever is in need, whether they are people or animals or whether it is through an agency or her own personal mission to help others. She is an example of a person living her life’s mission on a daily basis, no matter her own personal difficulties or challenges.”
Carl Friedlander has known Pat ever since he moved into Friendsville, about eight years ago. He came into contact with Pat through people she was helping. She volunteers her time to make sure that he has whatever he needs to make his daily routine easier for him and his cats. Carl wants Pat to know how much he appreciates the caring and helpful individual she is, and that his life is made so much easier with her in it.
Some people help others through charitable organizations that help focus on specific needs in certain communities. Pat Schmidt goes about her charity in a different but effective way. She has immersed herself in the needs of her community and goes where she is needed at any given time. On behalf of everyone here and so many others, thank you Pat for your constant and unwavering compassion and generosity to those who need it most.
(Editors Note: Pat is currently undergoing chemotherapy and was unable to meet for an interview. Prayers are appreciated at this time.)
Written By Michael R. Fratz