ROCK HILL, S.C. — He’s a 67-year-old man who has lived in Rock Hill all his life.
He worked at Lance in Charlotte for almost 40 years and now he’s retiring.
On top of his ambitious character, Ben Patton has dedicated his life to serving others.
Patton is the baby of 7 sisters. With all of them in their 70s and 80s and COVID-19 on the line, a retirement celebration with everyone wasn’t possible. That’s when Patton’s Niece Linda Gilmore stepped in.
“We didn’t want to pass up the opportunity from your retiring from Lance for all these years, and we love you, and we appreciate everything you do for the family and how hardworking and a good example for us too,” Gilmore said.
“And I love you with all my heart, because no matter when I call you, no matter what time of night I tell you to come and help me and my husband, you’re always there for us,” Patton’s niece Lois Stewart said.
Patton spent his life helping family members fix up their homes, taking care of his mother until she died and volunteering at local soup kitchens.
“He even went on top of the house and shocked me,” Stewart said. “I came out the door and see him on top of the house and I about fainted. He’s just a remarkable person.”
“He just loves the outdoors and doing stuff. He’s just a busy body and that’s why we always call him Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben is country,” Stewart adds.
A strong believer in education – Patton always gave gifts to kids in the family who graduated, encouraging them to keep learning, treat people right and be the best they can be.
“Just try to be true to yourself, enjoy life and just go on from there,” Patton said.
“We thank CN2 for making it such a special event for him,” Gilmore said.
Uncle Ben Patton says his drive to give back, gives him……
“pride to do something for other peoples, that’s most of what it does, just give me pride.”
Patton also comes from a big family and never married.
In 1963, Patton and his sibling’s house burned down and his father went into rescue him. Patton spent a year recovering from the burns in the hopsital, but his father died soon after the rescue. He went to school with burned skin on his head and arms. He wore a turban to hide the injuries. Despite being picked on and laughed at, Patton still succeeded and graduated from Rock Hill High School on time.
And if you haven’t made the connection, Linda Gilmore’s son, Stephon Gilmore, currently plays in the NFL for the Patriots.
Now that Patton is retiring, he says he’ll have free time. He’d like to explore different places, depending on COVID-19 and continue his legacy of helping others.
In the video above, CN2’s Sarah Obeid presents Patton with our latest hometown hero award.