Patrick Raymond Boswell was born at 11:53 am on September 11, 2000. He was a Millennium Baby. His parents, Robert Boswell and Patricia Frontain were overjoyed. They called him “Sweet Pea” and “Special Boy”.
Four years later, Patrick was followed by his sister, Zoe. He and his family were active in their Des Plaines, Illinois community. From Kindergarten through Sixth Grade, Patrick was a Cub Scout. His mother was the Den Leader. During those years, they were present at hundreds of community functions.
He was also active in local sports….playing soccer, basketball, and football. Football was his favorite. He was a team player and excelled at motivating his teammates. He could not wait to play for Maine West High School.
At the age of 13, Patrick walked into a local Auto Mechanics Shop (Pat and Chucks in Des Plaines) and asked for a job. He loved mechanics and tinkering with anything he could get his hands on. He had an innate ability to fix anything mechanical. The owner of the shop was so impressed by his attitude that he gave him a job!
After school, Patrick would work painting, doing yard work and sweeping up the shop. He was in his glory and could not wait to graduate to the next level of being allowed “inside” the shop to learn how to fix cars. Along with football, he could not wait to take an Auto Mechanics class in High School. He dreamed of owning his own shop, getting married and having four children. He was a good caretaker to all his numerous pets….three dogs, two cats, two birds, a bunny, two hamsters and a snake.
Initially, after Patrick’s death, a local animal rescue organization set up a foundation called Patrick’s Pups. All grieving family, friends, and colleagues were encouraged to donate to the foundation to honor Patrick. Nearly $13,000 was collected in the first six months after his passing to assist the volunteers with their rescue efforts.
Besides football and cars and animals, Patrick was crazy about Nike shoes. He collected them. He bought them, refurbished them and resold them making a profit. In honor of this, many of his friends and family wore Nike shoes at his funeral.
The School Years
Kindergarten through Eighth Grade was spent at Iroquois Community School. Since he and his family only lived six blocks from the school, he was often seen walking his sister home with all the neighborhood kids. He was a good big brother to his sister. He was a “protector” at school, always empathizing with his peers and protecting them from bullies. He had many friends and was the self-proclaimed “King of 8th Grade”. He made the girls swoon and the boys want to imitate him. He was beloved by his teachers, although he continuously tried their patience by being the class clown.
Both of his parents came from large families. As a result, Patrick was often going to family parties and celebrating holidays with his many cousins and Aunts and Uncles. Each Christmas his family would travel from Des Plaines to Texas to visit his Mother’s family. His beloved Grandmother and Grandfather were crazy about him. He was their second grandchild and they doted on him. He loved to visit them in the summer and swim all day long in their pool, laughing and having a great time.
Patrick was a “normal” middle-class boy with all the advantages that come with it. A nice community, family, school, and friends. His future was bright.
Christmas of 2014 was his last Christmas with his family. Little did they know, it was the last time that all of his extended family would ever see him.
Gone Too Soon
January 2, 2015 was his Mother’s birthday. He sang Happy Birthday after a family dinner. He then begged to go out with his friend. He had been in Texas the previous ten days and wanted to hang with his friend. They were going to play basketball at a local gymnasium.
The gym was near an apartment complex in Rosemont, Illinois. At the apartment complex, there was an argument between two rival gang members. Yes, gang members! Still hard to believe…..In their wonderful neighborhood.
Someone pulled out a gun and shot at their rivals and anyone close by….. Patrick was shot in the neck as he was running away. He was running back home. He died immediately.
Patrick was not able to learn more about Auto Mechanics. He was not able to graduate 8th grade. He was not able to attend High School and play football. He was not able to get his driver’s license or go to prom. He was not able to get married. His parents and family did not get to witness him grow into manhood. They did not get to become In-laws to his wife or grandparents to his children.
In a split second their dreams were shattered and the hopes for their son’s future became dreams of the past.
Life will never ever be the same for this family. Never the same for all of Patrick’s friends and teachers and classmates and teammates. That night the Des Plaines and Rosemont communities lost their innocence. Their rose-colored glasses were taken off. How could this possibly happen in their wonderful communities?
The unfortunate truth is that it can happen in any community!! Similar acts of violence happen every day across America! Gun violence knows no color, no religion, and no financial status. It does not care about the victim’s age or stage in life. It does not care that it ruins lives, crushes the victim’s families and tears communities apart.
This can not keep happening throughout our country! Every day people are dying senselessly because of gun violence! It has to stop!
Patrick’s mother and a group of caring individuals started Patrick Lives On as a way to honor Patrick and help their community.
In 2017 they produced 31 Public Service Announcements to be distributed nationally. The PSAs are part of a series entitled “Shattered – Gun Violence Shatters Lives” and “The Domino Effect – Every Action Has A Reaction”. Actors from CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED and CHICAGO FIRE star in this campaign.
A substantial financial assistance program has been established to enable our youth to stay active in extracurricular activities. If our children are occupied in these positive activities of their choice, the lure of gangs and gun violence shall fade into the background.
The coaches, teachers, and counselors of these programs shall provide the much-needed mentorship for kids during our troubled times, keeping kids active in character building activities.
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