Area Post Office Renamed After Fallen Hero Ross McGinnis

mcginnisKNOX, Pa. (EYT) – As a boy, Ross McGinnis knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. Friends and family talked about a crayon drawing by McGinnis that showed a soldier.  Monday night the same friends and family attended yet another ceremony honoring his heroic efforts that earned him a posthumous Medal of Honor.

(Photo: USPS Operations Manager Jay Phelan, Romaine McGinnis, Thomas McGinnis, and Congressman GT Thompson.)

Officials from the U.S. Postal Service hosted a rededication ceremony Monday night for the Knox Post Office (Clarion County) in honor of Army Specialist Ross Andrew McGinnis.

The rededication bills were introduced in the 114th Congressional session in the House (HR 433) by Representative Glenn Thompson and in the U.S. Senate (S. 3378) by Senator Pat Toomey and passed into law, rededicating the building on East Railroad Street as the “Specialist Ross A. McGinnis Post Office Building.”

The ceremony – held at the Knox Fire Hall – included elected and postal officials, family, and friends.

An official plaque for the Post Office was unveiled to the parents of Ross, Thomas and Romaine McGinnis, by Jay Phelan, manager of operations support with the United State Postal Service, and Congressman GT Thompson.

IMG_1531Presentation of Colors

Others attending the ceremony included Sheila Sterrett representing Senator Pat Toomey, USPS Western PA District Manager Troy Seanor, Barney Knorr, Board President of Keystone SMILES, and friends and family of Ross A. McGinnis.

The Knox Community Choir and Keystone High School, along with Amazing Grade by violinist Hally Ling, provided patriotic music.

The American Legion Post 720 opened the ceremony by marching into the fire hall and posting the Colors, followed by the Pledge of allegiance by Commander William Altman.  Pastor Karen Parsh gave the Invocation and Benediction.

McGinnis was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1987, in Meadville. His family moved to Knox when he was three.  There he attended Clarion County public schools and was a member of the Boy Scouts.  Growing up, he played basketball and soccer through the YMCA.  He was a member of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Knox and a 2005 graduate of Keystone Junior-Senior High School.

fullsizeoutput_22a9A Forever Stamp For A Forever Hero

McGinnis entered the Army under an early enlistment-training program when he was 17.  Basic training was in Fort Banning, Ga. and later assigned to 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment in Schweinfurt, Germany.  According to fellow soldiers, he loved soldiering and took his job seriously, but he also loved to make people laugh.  One fellow soldier commented that every time McGinnis left a room, he left the soldiers in it laughing.

The unit deployed to Eastern Baghdad in August 2006 where sectarian violence was rampant.  He was serving as an M250 caliber machine gunner in 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment in support of operations against insurgents in Adhamiyah, Iraq.

ross

According to the official report, on the afternoon of Dec. 4, 2006, McGinnis’ platoon was on mounted patrol in Adhamiya to restrict enemy movement and quell sectarian violence.  During the course of the patrol, an unidentified insurgent positioned on a rooftop nearby threw a fragmentation grenade into the Humvee.  Without hesitation or regard for his own life, McGinnis threw his back over the grenade, pinning it between his body and the Humvee’s radio mount.  McGinnis absorbed all lethal fragments and concussive effects of the grenade with his own body.  McGinnis, who was a Private First Class at the time, was posthumously promoted to specialist.

All of the survivors credit McGinnis with saving their lives.

His Army decorations include the Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, Arm Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

McGinnis was the first Pennsylvania soldier to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.


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