33

I vividly remember the night several years ago we got the call that my soon-to-be-a-Marine brother had been in a car accident and wouldn’t make it past the night. His TBI (traumatic brain injury) from the car crushing his skull was too severe and even if he did make it, he would be a vegetable and/or mentally and physically handicapped for the rest of his life. He miraculously made it through brain surgery, a coma and intense physical therapy. Against doctor’s predictions for his life, he now is a marketing manager, back in college, owns his own house and makes our family laugh on a daily basis.

Sadly, another local family wasn’t as lucky as mine.

Gail and Paul Casey from Clifton Park no doubt spent many a restless night worrying about their son’s safety while he was away fighting in Afghanistan. Yet Patrick Casey, 33, didn’t die defending our country. He died defending a friend at a McDonald’s in Washington, D.C. Sucker punched by an assailant still on the loose, he suffered a TBI and never awoke from his coma.

One cannot explain or begin to understand the senselessness of  this tragedy. We are only left with the pieces that have shattered around us. So many people have been touched by this soldier’s life– either while playing football with him at Shenendehowa High School or RPI, touring with him overseas or recently meeting him at a class in George Washington University where he was getting his Master’s degree. Perhaps the only small silver lining in this dark cloud is that many more people will be touched by this young man’s life- literally. His parents gave permission to donate his organs.

While he may be gone way too early in this life, I highly doubt his family and his friends will let his memory fade. Let’s help keep this “gentle giant’s” strength and courage alive by supporting his family this coming Monday at the Gordon C. Emerick Funeral Home in Clifton Park. Calling hours are 4-8 p.m.

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2 thoughts on “33

  1. I met Pat in 2008 when I was a freshman at RPI during football camp, which starts about 2 weeks before classes. He was roomates with my really good friend from High School, Tim Westcott. After the first practice I went over to Tim’s place to hang out and here was this massive 6’4″ 295 pound guy who had to turn sideways to fit into the 3′ doorway.

    As much as you tried not to, the first or second question you ask a big guy is always “How much you bench?”, since the first day of football camp is strength testing we sat in the room and compared results. I think Tim tested at 370 then I said how I got 350. Pat and Tim both said how awesome that was and were excited about the prospects of having a lot of capable players on the team. There was no need to ask Pat what he benched as the word had already gotten around about his massive number, but I asked anyway. Pat tested out at 475. As a 17 year old kid playing college football for the first time I remember thinking that If this guy was on my team, I had nothing to worry about.
    I was happy to hear that Pats organs are being donated, and have to admit that his doing so has changed my perspective on organ donation. I can only imagine that each person who is touched by this generous act will live a much better, healthier and stronger life.

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