In honor of Patrick McQuillan Sr., US Army - Served in World War IIHometown: St. Paul, MN(Submitted August 25, 2008 by Pat McQuillan)
When Patrick McQuillan passed away on April 17, 2008, America lost another hero. He served in The Northern African invasion as a member of the Fighting Thunderbirds as they prepared for the invasion of Italy. He fought and was wounded in hand to hand combat in the battle for Anzio. He lost his whole battalion except for himself and the lead gunner when a shell hit their duck boat after he had jumped onto the beach in Italy and began firing up at the Italian forces. After recovering he jumped on with the Red Bulls during the invasion of Southern France before catching up to his thunderbirds division. He stood guard at the internment camp at Dackhauer in Germany during liberation, where only the Red Cross were allowed in. He walked the entire way from the southern French coast to Berlin during liberation.
He returned to St Paul to teach 35 years as one of the first adaptive PE instructor in the state. Giving so much to the less fortunate was his way of life. As well as being the founder of the athletic associations for football, baseball, hockey, basketball, softball etc. in the Midway area of St Paul. Plus, he started the East Metro Olympics which were the model of the Special Olympics back in 1962. Ten years before these events gained national (now international) attention. Don Rilley called him "the little tough guy who wore his heart on his arm for the special education students of St Paul. He founded Special Olympics before the hucksters took it over for the benefits of his kids...they were all winners." Truly a member of "The Greatest Generation".
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