Father, husband, 9/11 hero and survivor: John McLoughlin delivers Commencement Eve speech

Local News

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — John McLoughlin is a SUNY Oswego alumnus, a father of a graduate, and he survived the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, after becoming trapped under rubble working to save others.

McLoughlin is a hero, but the titles he treasures the most? Being a father and a husband.

The 1975 SUNY Oswego graduate returned to campus as the Keynote speaker of the Commencement Eve Torchlight Dinner and Ceremony with a message for graduates, something he learned after cheating death.

“As long as you keep trying, there’s always an opportunity,” he said. 

His daughter, Erin, is a member of the 2019 graduating class and plans to go to graduate school for occupational therapy so she can help others the way doctors helped her dad.

“It’s been amazing seeing him go from a wheelchair and being told he wouldn’t walk again to walking up the stairs on the stage and giving a speech at the podium,” Erin said.

John gave Erin her high school diploma and now was able to be a part of her college graduation too —  special moments that could have been taken away from them both.

“Even though you have one set path, it doesn’t mean that’s your end-all-be-all, and no matter what happens, you can still find happiness,” Erin said.

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For more local news, follow Nicole Sommavilla on Twitter @NeSommavilla

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