AHWATUKEE, AZ - Desert Vista High School graduates will be wearing yellow ribbons at graduation Thursday night in honor of the school's security guard and assistant girls' cross country coach.
50 -year-old Patrick Quinn, known as "Pat" to students died from a heart attack Wednesday morning while running on the high school's track.
The school's Principal Dr. Anna Battle said Quinn arrived to the school at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning for his usual morning run.
"One of the security guards greeted him as he was entering mile seven, unfortunately he was alone though when it happened," Battle said.
Quinn, a former firefighter and EMT was often in the school's parking lot to greet students.
"Pat was one of those guys who could really connect with people." said Bryan Raiton, a Desert Vista High School sophomore.
Raiton joined several students to create a memorial for Quinn just outside the school's stadium near 32nd Street and Pecos Road.
"He just really deserves something." said Raiton.
"He was such a selfless person to even do this, it is so minimal, it's the smallest thing we could do." said Julia Thatcher, Desert Vista's student body president.
Students said the news started to travel fast that their beloved security guard had passed away.
"I got this phone call from my mom and she didn't know I didn't know, and it was a good thing because there were so many text messages on my phone, and I wouldn't have wanted to find out that way." said Thatcher.
"I just started bawling." said Kelsey Sabori, a Desert Vista senior.
Sabori said Thursday's ceremony will give students a chance to celebrate the man they felt was more like a friend than a school worker.
"Everyday when we would drive into the parking lot, he was always there waiting with a smile on his face and he would be waiving. It was a great way to start the morning when you saw his face." said Sabori.