Fueling communities presented by BP: Patrick McDonald

By Katie Branham | March 12, 2014, 10:30 a.m. (ET)
Wheelchair curling against Norway
Patrick McDonald is the skip for the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Curling Team.

For U.S. Army veteran Patrick McDonald, wearing the colors red, white and blue bring him immense pride, but for McDonald, he also likes to make sure there are accents of pink.

McDonald has been known to sport a pink wheelchair, pink fingernails, pink curling gloves and various articles of pink clothing.

“I’m definitely not afraid of showing the things that I care about, and it is just something I do," he said. "I’ve always been outgoing. Pink is a good color and it represents a good cause.”

For McDonald, that cause is breast cancer awareness. What began with him attending several charity golf tournaments has grown into a cause that is personal for McDonald with multiple friends and family members who have been affected by the disease.

“I just think it is something that women shouldn’t have to go through, and women are very important to the world, and breast cancer is one of the worst things out there. I have a wife, my Mom, my daughter, and women are pretty much the most important people on the planet, and we should treat them good and take care of them and make sure nothing happens to them.”

Outside of his efforts at raising awareness of breast cancer, McDonald has also volunteered with causes that hit a little bit closer to home for him. When he was living in California, he would regularly take part in his local chapter of Veterans Affairs’ barbecues, softball tournaments and other types of fundraisers.

For McDonald, who lost the use of his legs while serving in Korea when his armored personnel carrier rolled on the way back from patrol, the same organization he was volunteering for also gave back to him.

“I did whatever I could to show up and just help them to put on successful events, and then to have them turn around and say, you are one of the vets who benefits from these events, was really special. I’ve been able to go up to the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Aspen, and I have benefited from these fundraisers myself.”

When talking to McDonald, it is very obvious that his family is the most important thing in his life. McDonald and his wife Denise have a 12-year-old daughter, Andrea, and a son, Kaelan, who will celebrate his eighth birthday on the day of the Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony.

Helping others is a family affair in the McDonald household.

“Hopefully everything we’ve taught them so far has stuck. They do help out as much as they can. My daughter does a lot of tutoring, and she is also a level one instructor, so she is down here at the club helping new curlers learn how to play. My son helps our neighbors and is always doing service projects with his Boy Scout troop.”

Seeing his children give back to their community brings great pride to McDonald.

“It feels good knowing that they will hopefully continue to do as much as they are and grow up to be good adults and good parents themselves.”

McDonald’s family will be cheering him on from home while he serves as the skip on the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Curling Team at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, which started March 7. Team USA looks to improve upon its fourth place finish at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

McDonald will be wearing the red, white and blue, with likely touches of pink, as the team battles to advance from pool play. Team USA is currently 4-4 after winning two games on March 12.