March 31, 2004 by

Mike O’Callaghan

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Categories: Education, Heroes, Media, Military, Politicians, Writers/Editors

mocallaghan.jpgDonal “Mike” O’Callaghan, a newspaper columnist and former governor of Nevada, died on March 5 from a heart attack. He was 74.
Born Donal O’Callaghan in LaCrosse, Wis., he adopted the first name Mike when he was a teenaged boxer. At 16, O’Callaghan enlisted in the Marines as part of the post-World War II occupation forces. He served in the Air Force as an intelligence specialist then joined the Army in order to fight in the Korean War.
On Feb. 13, 1953, his company came under heavy fire from Chinese Communist forces. To rescue several soldiers trapped in an out-guard post, O’Callaghan voluntarily put himself in harm’s way. He was hit by a mortar and badly wounded. Rigging a tourniquet out of telephone wire, O’Callaghan saved the men, crawled back to the command post and continued to direct the firefight for three more hours. His left leg was later amputated below the knee, and his efforts were rewarded with the Silver Star and a Purple Heart.
When he returned to the states, O’Callaghan earned a master’s degree from the University of Idaho and moved to Henderson, Nev., to teach high school history and economics. He helped found and run the Henderson Boys Club, became the state’s first health and welfare director and was named regional director to the federal Office of Emergency Preparedness by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
An interest in politics led O’Callaghan to run for lieutenant governor in 1966. He lost that race, but was elected to the state’s top spot four years later. During his two terms in office, the popular Democrat was best known for supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and creating the state’s Consumer Affairs Office.
After his second term ended, O’Callaghan became a journalist, spending two decades as a columnist and executive editor at the Las Vegas Sun. A high school, a park and a hospital are all named in his honor.
Timeline of O’Callaghan’s Life

One Response to Mike O’Callaghan

  1. Vegas Thornton

    Mike was more than a good person, who loved his family, life, and the community. Mike was a leader when there was little or no accountability for leaders. May everyone influenced by Mike give like Mike did, and the world will not only be better, but his legacy will live on.

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