Cahill, a 62-year-old physician assistant, suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and returned to work at the base as a civilian employee after taking just one week off for recovery, said his daughter Keely Vanacker.
"He survived that. He was getting back on track, and he gets killed by a gunman," Vanacker said, her words bare with shock and disbelief.
Cahill, of Cameron Texas, helped treat soldiers returning from tours of duty or preparing for deployment. Often, Vanacker said, Cahill 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."
Cahill, who was born in Spokane, Wash., had worked as a civilian contractor at Fort Hood for about four years, after jobs in rural
health clinics and at Veterans Affairs hospitals. He and his wife, Joleen, had been married 37 years.
Vanacker described her father as a gregarious man and a voracious reader who could talk for hours about any subject.
The family's typical Thanksgiving dinners ended with board games and long conversations over the table, said Vanacker, whose voice often cracked with emotion as she remembered her father. "Now, who I am going to talk to?"
Mike Cahill, Cameron
Mike Cahill of Cameron was among the 13 people killed in a shooting rampage Thursday at the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, The Cameron Herald reported Thursday. Cahill, the paper reported, worked as a physician’s assistant from 1997 until 2000 and still lived in Cameron.
Spc. Jason Dean Hunt, Oklahoma
Spc. Jason Dean Hunt, 22, was among the 13 people killed Thursday at Fort Hood, family members in Oklahoma said. Gale Hunt of Frederick said Friday two uniformed soldiers came to her door at 11:30 p.m. Thursday to notify her of the death of her son. She said her son joined the military after graduation from Tipton High School, and had served three and a-half years, including a stint in Iraq. He was married two months ago. He was previously stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia. She described him as family-oriented and quiet and said he enjoyed video games.
Sgt. Amy Krueger, Wisconsin
Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, of Kiel, Wis., joined the Army after the 2001 terrorist attacks and had vowed to take on Osama bin Laden. Her mother, Jeri Krueger, says Amy Krueger had arrived at Fort Hood on Tuesday. She told the Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc, Wis., that her daughter was scheduled to be sent to Afghanistan in December. Jeri Krueger recalls telling her daughter that she could not take on bin Laden by herself. The mother recalls her daughter's response: "Watch me." Kiel High School Principal Dario Talerico told The Associated Press that Krueger graduated from the school in 1998 and had spoken at least once to local elementary school students about her career. Talerico says he remembers Amy Krueger as "a very good kid, who
like most kids in a small town are just looking for what their next step in life was going to be and she chose the military. Once she got into the military, she really connected with that kind of lifestyle and was really proud to serve her country."
Pfc. Michael Pearson, Illinois
Pfc. Michael Pearson, 21, of Bolingbrook, Ill. was one of the 13 people killed in the shooting rampage. Sheryll Pearson told the Chicago Tribune that she and her husband found out Thursday that their son was killed in the attack. She said her son joined the Army more than a year ago and was training to deactivate bombs. She said she and her husband received a call from their son's sergeant at Fort Hood. He told them their son had been shot three times, and an Army surgeon later called to say he had died. Sheryll Pearson says the loss has left the family "all very angry." Neighbor Jessica Koerber says the family has "lost their gem." She said Michael loved playing with his nieces and nephews and enjoyed playing guitar. She calls him "a great kid."
Francheska Velez, Illinois
Relatives say 21-year-old Francheska Velez of Chicago is among the 13 people killed when an Army psychiatrist opened fire. Her father, Juan Guillermo Velez, said she only recently returned from deployment in Iraq. She was preparing to come home because she was pregnant. He likens her death on U.S. soil after serving her country to a slap in the face. He clutched pictures of his daughter as he spoke on a family porch. A friend of Velez, Sasha Ramos, describes her as a fun-loving person who wrote poetry and loved dancing.
Spc. Kham Xiong, Minnesota
A St. Paul, Minnesota soldier is among those who were killed in the Fort Hood massacre. Army Spc. Kham Xiong was shot and killed before he ever had a chance to go to war. He was at Fort Hood, preparing for a deployment in Iraq around New Year's. Xiong's wife and three children had been with him in Texas for five months, as he got ready for his assignment. The rest of his family is in St. Paul where Xiongs’ father, Chor, says he will always be proud of his son. Family members say Xiong was in line for a physical when the shooting broke out. His wife sent him a text message, telling him to come home for lunch and go back for the physical later. But Xiong texted back, “No, I’ll stay. It's almost my turn." Xiong has ten siblings, including a 17-year-old brother, who's a Marine in Afghanistan.
Fort Hood Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley
Fort Hood Commander Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said Friday that Fort Hood police Sgt. Kimberly Munley and her partner responded within three minutes of reported gunfire Thursday afternoon. Cone said Munley shot the gunman four times despite being shot herself. Officials said Munley was in stable condition. Cone said, "It was an amazing and an aggressive performance by this police officer." Cone also said he was inspired by a woman who helped carry a wounded victim and used her blouse as a tourniquet, then later realized she'd been shot in the hip.
Ray Saucedo, Michigan
Soldier Ray Saucedo was doing his work at the post when a bullet grazed his arm Thursday. The soldier is from Lansing, Mich. and recently moved his wife and two children to Ft. Hood. His wife did not have details of her husband's injuries and did not know whether her husband was grazed by shots fired from the suspected shooter, or return fire from security personnel.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan
The Fort Hood gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan remains in a coma but is expected to live, authorities said. He was originally thought to be among the dead from Thursday’s shooting, but officials said Thursday night he survived. He is under guard at Scott & White Hospital in Temple.
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