Derry man in New York uses snow to build Free Derry Corner for sick father-in-law

When native New Yorker Donald McCall was too ill to travel to Derry for St. Patrick's Day this year his son-in-law decided to do something very special.

Friday, 17th March 2017, 1:12 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:12 am
Derry man, John McDermott, made his own version of Free Derry Corner for his father-in-law, Donald McCall. (Photo: John McDermott)

Galliagh man, John McDermott, is married to Mr. McCall’s daughter, Molly, and they live in Truxton, New York.

“My father-in-law was diagnosed with kidney failure in August 2016 so I figured if he couldn’t get to Derry for St. Patrick’s Day I would bring Derry to him.”

Thanks to some heavy snowfall, John got out of bed early on St. Patrick’s Day and made his own version of Free Derry Corner,

In keeping with the St. Patrick’s Day festivities John even used green spray paint to write the famous slogan ‘You Are Now Entering Free Derry’ on the snow.

Incidentally, John, who is now 30 years-old, emigrated to New York when he was 21.

John first travelled to New York as a young boy and lived with Mr. McCall and his family in Truxton.

Almost two decades later John married Mr. McCall’s daughter, Molly, and the couple have two sons, Sean and Caolán.

“Donald is one of the kindest people I know,” said John.

Mr. McCall was a volunteer with Project Children - an initiative that brought children from both sides of the divide in Northern Ireland to spend summers in America during the Troubles.

“I was one of the children lucky enough to be sponsored by Donald.

“I emigrated to America when I was 21 to marry Molly, his daughter.”

John added: “Donald’s ancestors are originally from Derry and Tyrone.

“One of the other children sponsored by Donald turned out to be his full cousin - the pair of them had never met before.”

John, who is a carpenter finished off by saying the life as he knows it would not have been possible had it not been for the altruism of Mr. McCall.

“If it wasn’t for Donald I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.