Fort Hood victim former Havre resident
November 9, 2009
Tim Leeds Havre Daily News [email protected]
The tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, has impacted even Havre, with the only civilian victim of Thursday's shooting at the U.S. Army base. Mike Cahill, a physician assistant, was a former student at Northern Montana College, now Montana State University-Northern, in the 1970s. “He was sure dedicated,” said Gerard Vandeberg, who teaches at Stone Child College on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. “He had, I think, an exceptional interest in helping the young soldiers.” Cahill, 62, suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and returned to work at the post as a civilian employee after taking just one week off for recovery. Cahill, a native of Spokane, helped treat soldiers returning from tours of duty or preparing for deployment. Vandeberg, who is the cousin of Cahill's wife, Joleen, said Mike Cahill had kept his connection to Montana to The end. “When he helped process people from Montana, especially Rocky Boy, he would talk to them,” Vandeberg said. Cahill was a veteran himself, Vandeberg added. The Associated Press reports that Cahill's daughter, Keely Vanacker, said he took special care of the soldiers at Fort Hood. Vanacker said Cahill often would walk young soldiers where they needed to go, just to make sure they got the right treatment. "He loved his patients, and his patients loved him," said Vanacker, 33, the oldest of Cahill's three adult children. "He just felt his job was important." Vandeberg said Cahill's wife and their son, James, had been back to Havre visiting just last summer.