April 24, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama head gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson was honored as the Tuscaloosa County Citizen of the Year Wednesday afternoon at a luncheon sponsored by the Tuscaloosa Civitan Club and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.
"While it bears my name, there is no doubt that this award honors the work that David and I, and everyone associated with the Alabama Gymnastics program have done in the community over the past 30 years. I am grateful to the Civitans for this honor and to everyone who has helped make a difference in our community through the years."
Patterson was honored during the luncheon which was held at the Indian Hills Country Club for the impact she and her husband David, along with the Alabama gymnastics program they have guided for the last 35 years, have had in the West Alabama community. The couple were joined at the luncheon by their daughter and son-in-law Jessie and Brett Jones.
Through the years, the Pattersons have worked with dozens of worthwhile causes, including serving as chairperson for the Help & Hope Barbecue, the proceeds of which benefit the DCH Regional Medical Center's Cancer Center, as well as working with the United Way, Cystic Fibrosis, United Cerebral Palsy, Easter Seals, the Salvation Army and Camp Smile-a-Mile.
Over the past decade Sarah Patterson's work with the DCH Medical Center Foundation has taken things to an entirely new level. In December of 2004, she joined with the DCH Foundation to create the DCH Breast Cancer Fund and the Power of Pink initiative to help raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. The results have been phenomenal. The Crimson Tide has hosted nine "pink" meets, bringing more than 135,000 people to Coleman Coliseum, while helping raise more than $1.35 million for the DCH Breast Cancer Fund.
Despite her work in the community, it's the lessons learned in Tuscaloosa that her gymnasts take out into the world with them that Sarah Patterson is most proud of.
"Learning to be involved in the community at this young point is something you can take with you for the rest of your life," Sarah Patterson said. "If you've learned to give back and be very unselfish with your time while in college, then when you are grown, settled, mature and have your own career, you will continue to give back to society."
Sarah and David Patterson led the 2013 gymnastics team to a third place finish at the recent NCAA Championships, marking the team's fifth consecutive top-three finish and 31st top-10 finish. Winners of six NCAA Championships, the Pattersons have led the Crimson Tide to 31 consecutive national championship appearances and 22 top-three finishes.