Wisconsin News

Father, son share St. Patrick's Day bond

ONALASKA, Wis. - March 17th has always been an extra special day for Patrick O'Rourke.

He reads a newspaper article from his special day. "It says, 'There's nothing unusual about being born on St. Patrick's Day, unless of course, your parents happen to be O'Rourkes and your doctor is an O'Leary.'"

The Coulee Region native has kept the 37 year-old newspaper article that recognizes the crazy circumstances of his birth, and the Irish doctor, Dr. O'Leary, who helped welcome the young lad into the world.

"He told my mom or at least the story goes, he said 'I'm going to be here until you have this baby.' He stayed on longer just so he could deliver the Irish baby on St. Patrick's Day," Patrick recalls.

With that special birth, the O'Rourke baby needed a special name. "My mom was going to name me Darin, but once I was born on St. Patrick's Day, she changed it to Patrick."


When Patrick was growing up, the middle of March was different for the O'Rourkes than other families. He got used to parties with family as a kid. Then he moved on to painting the town green with the college buddies, and eventually, he celebrated by enjoying a couple of pints with his wife Tawni.

This isn't where Patrick's St. Patty's Day story ends. He and Tawni found out they were expecting their first child, and they were ecstatic. The due date fell in early March, pretty close to Patrick's birthday.

"Leading up to it of course a lot of my friends, especially some who were Irish, thought we planned it. Which we didn't of course," Patrick remembers.

The due date came and went because the baby was breech. Scheduling conflicts at the hospital pushed a potential C-section to more than a week after the baby's due date.

Luck had it that the surgery date would be March 17, 2006, when the O'Rourke family was given yet another blessing on the Irish holiday. "So then when I had my son on St. Patrick's Day, he's Cullen Patrick," beams Patrick. "In the end it was pretty cool because then we had our family and friends there dressed up in Irish gear and had the baby."

Now there's even more reason for the O'Rourkes to celebrate on Saint Patrick's day. "Usually the whole month of March the kids are running around with the leprechaun suits of some sort," says Patrick.

Cullen loves to wear anything green, and enjoys sharing his birthday with his dad. "It's really fun because me and him, I get to share my cake with him and do a lot of stuff with him on my birthday."

And Tawni thinks the shared birthday is a lot of fun for Patrick and Cullen. "I'm glad we had him on Patrick's birthday because I think it's really special that they share such a neat day," she says. "And that there's so much importance to St. Patrick's Day in the O'Rourke family."

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