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.