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Ray J. McDonald

"He was a person with goals in mind when he was a child to change things", says Joe McDonald of his father Ray.  Born in Sproul in 1922, his father had some hills to climb with one being the death of his father at the age of sixteen.  Ray, then, had to assist in helping a family of six.  That was in 1938.

Second, he enlisted to go to World War II, when he joined the Marines.  It was in his third year in battle when he was in The Pacific division and the Japanese blew up the ship.  He was blown off the ship.  He was missing in action for four days and was presumed dead.

Joe says that he was, then, sent to Walter Reed Hospital.  This is where his second life changing experience happened.  Back in the 40s, there was no physical therapy clinics or rehabs for soldiers.  It was done by doctors and nurses.  Joe says, that his dad looked at that and said,  "This is where I need to be."

Ray always believed in helping people.  So, with the GI Bill and with the assistance of some people, he spent eight years earning degrees from Penn State University, the Medical College of Virginia and New York University.  He was one of the first graduates with a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy in the United States.  Joe says that his father was the first licensed Physical Therapist in Blair County.  He adds that it was at that point when he was working at the VA Hospital that he saw a child who had Cerebral Palsy.  That was his next life changing experience, where he turned his life into helping these kids...

***To read the complete article, check out the upcoming book release  They Came From Blair County Volume Two due out by the end of 2021

***Information for this article was obtained through a phone interview with Joe McDonald.

***Photos were provided by Joe McDonald