A walk around the offices of IBEW Local 196 in Batavia, Illinois tells you a lot about Eric Patrick, the union man who runs the ship. He greets you with a warm welcome and leads you on a tour of the local that he has been a part of since 1988, introducing you to his staff along the way. His delivery, including an unrehearsed explanation of their roles, makes it apparent that he sincerely values each.
Walking the halls with Eric reveals a lot about his leadership style too. This business manager is accessible, involved and friendly, popping into offices to say hello and check in as he goes with a genuine smile and a gait that is quick and energetic.
“He’s very driven,” said Andrew Taft, one of Eric’s employees. “He actually looks at the union members almost like his own family. He shows a lot of concern when people need help, and he’s really out there to make sure that they’re okay.”
Eric’s wife, Joanna, said he doesn’t ask for much and calls him, “the most humble, modest person she’s ever met. He doesn’t do things for recognition,” she said. “He does things for the betterment of others.”
The positive impact Eric displays on his local extends into the community as well with his recent volunteer participation in a USA Work Boots on the Ground conservation project to benefit the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica, Illinois. His crew of union volunteers removed dead tree limbs that hovered over a youth campground on its 750-acre farm. There, Illinois kids learn how to become future stewards of our natural resources through the study of clean air and water, wetland habitat, wildlife management and more. “It’s important to give back to the community,” Eric said.
While Eric hasn’t asked for much, this avid outdoorsman has dreamed of fishing big tuna near New Orleans one day. So, when Brotherhood Outdoors learned about Eric’s caring qualities and about how much he enjoys watching the show, they invited him to go on what he calls, “the trip of a lifetime.”
“I love the outdoors…and have always wanted to fish the trip that I was picked to go on in southern Louisiana,” said Eric, a USA member of almost five years.
In an upcoming episode of Brotherhood Outdoors, go along with Eric and co-hosts Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen to Venice, Louisiana where Eric learns the not-so-easy ins and outs of fishing redfish and trout from a state-of-the-art Hobie kayak. When the crew moves offshore, chumming, cutting bait and spotting fish at the surface are all in a day’s work for Eric when he is volunteered to serve as deckhand. Experience the thrill as he pulls in a half dozen red snapper and four big cobia that Eric says, “hit like a tank, and ran like a missile.”
Will he return home with his `dream tuna’…or a big-fish-tale about the one that got away?
Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel.