Louis J. Pasquarell Sr. sustained a serious back injury during World War II, but it didn’t prevent him from coming home and help fight fires in his rapidly suburbanizing hometown.
Pasquarell, who died in January at age 98, was honored June 17 as Saratoga County’s Deceased Veteran of the Month.
“Lou is a patriarch of our community,” Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett said at the ceremony in Ballston Spa. “He mentored many of you firefighters.”
He was a 77-year member of the volunteer Jonesville Fire Department.
Born in Ushers in 1915, Pasquarell went into the Army in 1943, and was assigned to a railway battalion of the transportation corners. His unit was deployed in 1944 to France, where he broke his back jumping over a foxhole and ended up in a torso cast, according to his son, Lou Pasquarell Jr. It was a serious enough injury to have him evacuated to the United States, where he remained in a West Virginia Army hospital until November 1945.
“They said he would never be able to walk again. He said, ‘Like heck,’ ” recalled his son, who followed his father’s footsteps into firefighting and served 20 years as Jonesville fire chief.
He would have back problems for the rest of his life, with doctors’ visits and surgeries, but that didn’t keep him from running a business — Lou’s Garage, where he worked until age 95 — and mentoring many young firefighters over the years.
“He was always helping other people, especially children,” said a niece, Doreen West of Niskayuna.
The monthly deceased veterans ceremonies have frequently honored those of “The Greatest Generation,” who served in World War II and returned to contribute to their communities.
“He paid his dues in World War II, but he didn’t stop there, with 77 years in the Jonesville Fire Department,” said Adam Kramer, chief of staff to Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville.
A flag flown at the U.S. Capitol in Pasquarell’s honor currently flies outside the county office building on McMaster Street in Ballston Spa.