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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

In honor of PFC Gerald (Jerry) Walsh), Marine Corps - Served in World War II
Hometown: Southeast Minneapolis
(Submitted November 4, 2008 by Steve Slocum)

My father-in-law is Jerry Walsh and he is my hero.  Jerry served in the South Pacific with the Second Marine Division from July 3, 1942 to September, 1944.  He faced the enemy on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Saipan.  He earned the Bronze Star on Saipan.  But he had recurring malaria so bad that in September, 1944 he evacuated to the States for R&R.  He was treated in Hawaii, Washington, and Klamath Falls, Oregon before his honorable discharge in October 1945.  After the war Jerry never stopped fighting, only this time in wasn't the against the Japanese, it was fighting for mentally retarded children and adults. 

He was the first Executive Director of The ARC of Minnesota in 1957.  He and his tiny staff lobbied to improve the disgusting conditions of the State Institution System, a system that treated these people like animals.  Today individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are living dramatically better lives thanks to Jerry Walsh; it must be some of that Semper Fidelis spirit.  Jerry continues to fight on, but now at 87 years old, the dementia and Parkinson's Disease seem to be winning.  In November 2004, days prior to a Tribute to Jerry to celebrate his accomplishments on behalf of the mentally disabled, his health suddenly declined and he required immediate assisted living arrangements. 

Today my hero is in a nursing home.  His still attends meetings of the Minnesota Chapter of the Second Marine Division Association with me.  Since he can't vote himself, it is with great honor and pride in PFC Walsh that I do that duty for him.  Semper Fi. Jerry.

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Last updated: 10/8/2010 4:56:50 PM