Personality Profile: John W. Quinn

To those familiar with my writing, you will likely recognize the name John W. Quinn. I first learned about John through my daily “cerebral palsy” Google Alert emails. From these messages I discovered Quinn wrote Someone Like Me- An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy, a book noting how John overcame his cerebral palsy to enjoy a 20 year naval career.  Back in April I reviewed Quinn’s book for Yahoo! Voices, calling the book “a valuable read.” Moved so much by the author’s story, I included him in my Yahoo! Voices article “Role Models with Cerebral Palsy,” which also featured 2006 Last Comic Standing winner Josh Blue and the previously profiled Rollin’ With Zach host Zach Anner (read here). I even name dropped the former naval officer along with his praise for my memoir Off Balanced on this blog while promoting  my book (currently available on the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, excuse the cheap plug but I’ve got to pay the bills).

Someone Like Me by John W. Quinn

I highly recommend adding Someone Like Me to your 2012 reading list.

Now before you think John and I are nothing but two self-indulgent dudes giving each other virtual high fives and pats on the back, know otherwise. Someone Like Me  left me genuinely awed  by John W. Quinn’s dedication and physical discipline. Quinn could’ve given up on his naval ambitions after failing his first Navy physical and getting heavily ridiculed for the failure by his recruiter. Instead John spent a year in his basement secretly practicing the part he failed, the duck walk. He then retook the test and passed, becoming the poster boy for the cliche “Anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it.”

Perhaps most impressive about Quinn involves the physical discipline he exhibited in order to keep his cerebral palsy hidden from the Navy, not such an easy task considering the physical affects the disability holds over the human body. For instance, awkward gait and slumped shoulders proved vital to avoid. I don’t believe an able-bodied person can truly appreciate how mentally stressing this can be. Personally I probably can’t even maintain proper posture for five minutes but yet Quinn did  this all day, ALL FREAKING DAY, for 20 years, 20 FREAKING YEARS!!! Eight plus months following reading Someone Like Me and I’m still wowed  by this fact.

Well, that’s why John W. Quinn remains a reoccurring name within my writing. Honestly, when I emailed John an advance copy of Off Balanced I didn’t expect him to reciprocate my overly positive sentiments towards  him. Yet the former naval officer called my book “honest, compelling, and heartfelt” going on to say “Off Balanced should be required reading in every high school in America.” While I didn’t expect such a strong endorsement, the words further my conviction for Off Balanced. I’m certain too I’m not the only one John W. Quinn motivates.

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4 comments on “Personality Profile: John W. Quinn

  1. Sarah says:

    This was a great profile. I look forward to more.

  2. Dan says:

    I read John Quinn’s book about a month ago. I found it on kindle after uploading kindle for my pc. It was the second book I bought. I’m glad I got it, it was very interesting and very inspiring. It was well written, and just fantastic to read. Most autobiographies are dry, boring. But this one was great, it had spark to it. I could barely put it down. I bought it initially because I have mild spastic CP but knew no one else with it. I wanted to learn what others went through because of their own issues with CP in their life, to see how they handled similar challenges that I faced (both today and growing up). It was amazing what this guy went through and accomplished. I liked how his childhood was so different from mine, but yet there were many similarities there too because of the CP. The commanalities were interesting to learn of. It was interesting to read the similarities and differences between his parents reactions to his CP, and my parents reactions to mine. The similarities and differences between sibling reactions, teachers/coaches, etc. If I had known then what I know and understand now, my life might’ve turned out very differently.

    I also liked that he was from Detroit like my dad is and that he joined the navy like my dad did. I thought about joining the navy as well after high school. I dreamt of completing similar adventures my dad experienced on his 4 year stint. Shortly after school I actually got the guts up to call the Naval Office in my city and request an appointment. Unfornately I made the mistake of being honest and upfront with them about my CP. They immediately tried to convince me it wasn’t the right move for me after they learned of my handicap. They won, I gave in and didn’t apply. I’ve always regretted not pushing harder to get myself in and also wondered what would’ve happened if I had not been so forthright with them. It was great to read how Quinn was able to bypass that issue and make it in and make it work. There were a lot of great things in this book related to CP but also many more great things that had no relation at all to CP. I loved learning more about the navy from an insiders view, learning about the job path he followed in the navy, learning about his childhood experiences, his family hardships, etc. He faced some unique obstacles in his life that had nothing to do with his cerebral palsy and yet he found a way to eventually conquer them as well.

    I’d like to say more, give specific examples, but I feel it would ruin the surprises in store for the reader. It’s best to read them yourself so that you get the full effect of them. I definitely recommend reading the book. It’s very enlightening, on many levels.

  3. […] a while now, the names John W. Quinn and Tim Wambach will sound familiar. In fact I featured both John and Tim along with Tim’s friend/co-star Mike Berkson in posts dubbed “Personality […]

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