I had the opportunity to work with Pat at Palmetto High School. The phrase that comes to mind to best describe him is an educated gentleman. He had a great deal of both knowledge and wisdom. Still, he never came across as superior.
Although being a Media Specialist meant he was in charge of enforcing many rules, he seemed to handle everything with his special wry sense of humor. I believe every student knew, even while forced to wear their ID or pay a fine, that Mr. Mullins still really cared about them. He truly believed in the power of education, and wanted the best for every student.
From my point of view as a teacher, it was great to have such an advocate of education as a media specialist. Whether it was checking out graphing calculators, laminating math posters, or helping me find the cable I needed to connect a projector, he was always more than willing to pitch in to help the students - and teachers - have the resources they needed to succeed.
These days, it is not uncommon to hear people make disparaging comments about educators in public schools. No one who met Patrick Mullins could ever again make such a comment.
I grieve along with the Mullins family, the Manatee County school system, and all those who have been touched by his life over these many - but too few - years. He will be greatly missed.