*Editor’s note: There are two Clints referenced in this story. One, simply referred to as Clint, is Luke McGill’s uncle, while the second is his father. The last names of Clint and his wife, Casey, have been omitted by request of the family for privacy.
A Saegertown boy and his family got an unexpected visit from the President of the United States while meeting with an uncle who was injured in the military.
Luke McGill, 11, travelled with his mother, Stacey Gotchy, of Saegertown, and his cousin to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Feb. 6 to visit his uncle Clint, a marine who lost both of his legs to a land mine in Afghanistan.
Gotchy brought her niece Callie, the daughter of Casey and Clint, to the hospital because it was the little girl’s birthday. Clint is Gotchy’s brother-in-law, asCasey is her twin sister. Gotchy and her mother have been taking care of Callie while he is in the hospital.
While they were there, Clint was asked if he would be up for seeing a special VIP visitor, according to Gotchy.
Little did they know, the special VIP visitor would turn out to be the president of the United States.
On Feb. 7, President Donald Trump visited the military hospital to visit four soldiers who were injured, including McGill’s uncle.
“President Trump wanted to make it very personal and private,” Gotchy said. “He wanted to make it one-on-one.”
For McGill, the experience was thrilling and nerve-wracking.
“It was very fun, and when I first met him, my legs felt like jelly,” McGill said. “I was very shaky and I felt like I was on a roller coaster and I felt like I was in an elevator also.”
The nerves wound down for the young man, who found the president to be down-to-earth and personable.
“It was very nice to meet the president,” he said. “He was very kind and very understanding and very chill about everything.”
Although the young man was thrilled and proud to have met the president, and shared it with his peers, he stayed very humble, according to his father, Clint McGill.
“He would like people to know that his meeting the president wasn’t about him,” Clint McGill said. “It was about his uncle.”
According to Gotchy, the meet and greet was not political in any way. There was no press at the meeting, and the only pictures taken were by a White House photographer who provided images as keepsakes for the family.
“President Trump was very kind and compassionate,” Gotchy said. “There was nothing political about it. He was very kind, concerned and very respectful and you could tell his sole purpose was to make sure [Luke’s uncle] Clint was okay and his family was supported throughout the process.”
The visit became even more special when the president learned that Clint had not yet received his Purple Heart. Casey reached out to the staff at the office with the request that the president be the one who pinned the medal awarded to soldiers wounded in the line of duty on Clint’s shirt. President Trump saved Clint’s visit for last and held an award ceremony with the family present.
Luke McGill said he was proud of his uncle, of whom he spoke very highly.
“[My uncle Clint] is a very nice guy and he is pretty close to me and he is my role model,” he said. “I love him very dearly.”
The president stayed for about twenty minutes, visiting with family and awarding the Purple Heart.
Luke McGill said that he was given coins and a signedUnited States Marine Corps flag.
“We were talking about the White House and how nice it was living in the White House, and how I was a marine because I was wearing a marine corps t-shirt,” he said. “[President Trump] says he thinks I will succeed very well if I keep it up.”
Gotchy was very pleased that Clint is got his recognition, and she said “he deserves it.”
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