Marine Gunnery Sergeant Paul McQuigg—Life Lessons
“The quality in my dad that I admire the most is his perseverance and energy. He just never stops doing anything. Even after his injuries, he’s always active from dawn till dusk. I try to implement that in my own routine since I am a college football player. I wish to be like my dad in that way, just never quit and continue to give it my everything, everyday.” -Sebastian McQuigg, son of Paul McQuigg
For many of those in The Fund family, the lessons they’ve learned throughout their recoveries have encouraged countless individuals to never lose hope. When Gunnery Sergeant Paul McQuigg was severely wounded while leading his platoon in Iraq, he chose to serve faithfully, persevere, and give back—life lessons that inspired others and especially his son, Sebastian, in life-changing ways.
Life Lesson #1: Always Serve Faithfully
His heart dedicated to our country, Paul joined the Marines at twenty-years-old and served on deployments to over 20 countries in Europe, North Africa, former Soviet bloc nations, and the Middle East. In 2006, after saving the lives of five of his fellow Marines that very day, Paul was critically injured by a bomb blast that shattered his jaw and resulted in extensive nerve and tongue damage.
Back in the States, Paul encountered Semper Fi & America’s Fund while recovering at the hospital, and The Fund immediately provided financial assistance and emotional support.
“Once you become a member of The Fund, you’re a member for life and for veterans, it continues to give us a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves,” said Paul.
Life Lesson #2: Always Persevere
Paul spent the next year undergoing multiple surgeries, all the while raising two-year-old Sebastian. He continued his recovery while still in service with the Marines and assisted in the creation of Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton, which cares for wounded, ill, and injured Marines and Sailors. Following his medical retirement after nearly 20 years of service, Paul served as a Police & Fire Commissioner, a youth and church volunteer, and on the Board of Directors for various nonprofits that assist service members and veterans. Throughout it all, Paul and Sebastian remained active members of our Fund family.
“They [The Fund] don’t just support the warriors through financial hardship but make the warrior part of the extended family by sponsoring athletic events/teams, mental health services, seasonal gatherings, back to school programs, volunteer initiatives, employment assistance and a plethora of community outreach endeavors that continue to keep warriors engaged,” said Paul. “There is an education component as well, geared towards the civilian population on not only the struggles but the strengths that veterans are capable of adding to our great nation.”
Life Lesson #3: Always Give Back
Before and after his injury, Paul has used his incredible journey to encourage others, always on the lookout to help those around him. And for Paul, seeing the impact of positivity and a never quit attitude in Sebastian has inspired him to keep up the good fight.
“Sebastian has spent almost his entire life with me, through the good and most importantly through the bad for both of us. He’s never seen me quit at anything and he’s also witnessed a lot of the pain and heartache,” said Paul. “I’ve always been open with him and have shared a lot of life lessons. Ultimately, through everything I’ve always been there for him regardless of what was going on in my life. He’s told me that he thinks about what I’ve been through when times are tough for him. He’s inspired and that’s 1000 times more important than motivation.”