Family of shooting victim speaks on eve of Ft. Hood tragedy
by JADE MINGUS / KVUE News
Posted on November 4, 2010 at 6:14 PM
* Fort Hood memorial unveiled on one year anniversary of mass shooting
The only civilian to die in the Fort Hood shootings is being remembered by his loving family on the eve of the one year anniversary of the November 5 tragedy.
At a home in Cameron even wind chimes bring Mike Cahill’s family memories of him.
“He always loved the chimes,” said his wife, Joleen.
Cahill was the father of three grown children: Kerry, Keely, and James. He was also a proud grandfather.
His family jokes that he looked like Santa Claus, and his daughter Kerry says his personality was just as memorable.
“Last year when we had Christmas the house was quieter and the conversation was slower because dad ping-ponged a lot and could talk about anything,” said Kerry.
“He had such a knowledge of everything; he was a reader, and loved politics,” said his wife Joleen.
The family has left Mike Cahill’s den largely untouched. He was an avid photographer and his pictures are hung proudly on the wall.
Cahill served with the National Guard for 22 years. His final act of bravery is a testament to his character.
“I have to think of Mike and his good memories, and I have to always think about the fact that he possibly saved lives,” said Joleen.
Cahill worked as a physician's assistant at the Soldier Readiness Processing center on Fort Hood. The 62-year-old died Nov. 5 when he heroically attempted to take down the shooter.
“He would rather be the one charging than a 23-year-old who hasn't had a chance to see their kid grow up yet,” said Kerry.
Cahill's last patient that tragic day on post sent his family a special flag. The Fort Hood soldier had flown it in Afghanistan on Cahill's birthday to honor him.
As his children and wife work to memorialize his life, they want the shooter to be forgotten.
“The only person in that room and in this world who killed my dad is that man. Nobody else did this, and that is who needs to be blamed for my fathers’ murder,” said Kerry.
While his family continues to cope, they are reminded of a selfless husband, father, and hero.