Three letters and colors sewn into a uniform speak to what motivates Patrick McDonald. For more than two decades those three letters and colors have helped to shape his life.
In a matter of a few months those three letter, USA and colors, red, white and blue will lead McDonald to Sochi, Russia to again represent his country.
Twenty-two years ago Pfc. Patrick McDonald was wearing the colors on his U.S. Army uniform as a cavalry scout patrolling the DMZ in Korea.
“It was everything. You wake up every day and you get to put on a uniform of the greatest country on the planet,” says McDonald.
His unit was being readied to participate in Operation Desert Storm when an accident changed McDonald’s life. The vehicle he was in, an M113 personnel carrier rolled over and McDonald was pinned beneath a supply box weighing 1,200 lbs. The accident left him paralyzed.
“Sad things happened that day and good things happened that day,” says McDonald.
He came home and searched for a direction to take his life. Always an athlete, McDonald started looking for a sport that he could again compete in. That search led him from his home in Northern California to the Madison Curling Club where he would work with Steve Brown.
“He just moved lock, stock and barrel from California to cold wintry Wisconsin so he could train with me full time and so he has really put in an effort that is above and beyond the call of duty, “says Brown, the coach of the US Paralympic curling team.
McDonald has been training virtually every day at the Madison Curling Club in preparation for the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The games run from March 7 through the 16th.
“It is just a bonus and a plus to sit here with USA and your name on the back and get to represent your country again,” says McDonald.
Representing his country is something that was instilled in Patrick McDonald many years ago. Those three letters and three colors are woven into the fabric of who he is.
“You really do see the pride in people that have served in the military because they are people that have worn the USA, but for a different purpose to keep peace in the world and now he is representing the United States at the Paralympics and the world championships. That’s pretty special. Not many people can put that USA on their backs and go out there and play against the finest in the world,” says Brown.