John Carrigan, a longtime advocate for local veterans, died Oct. 21 from injuries sustained in a biking accident.
For the veteran business community, the loss is felt especially hard, says Nanette Mueller, training officer for the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Military Officers of Association of America.
“I had the honor of attending the VetNet meeting yesterday,” she said in an email to the CSBJ. “This is a weekly meeting of veterans who own small businesses, held at the Retired Enlisted Association building. John Carrigan was one of the driving forces behind this group.”
Instead of the regular presentation, the group shared their memories of Carrigan, she said.
“I’m sure they won’t mind if I share their thoughts with you,” she said in the email.
Members said that Carrigan was their cheerleader.
“He pushed you out of your comfort zone to be successful,” one member said. “He gave you the right connections so you could be successful.”
Others talked about his passion for people — especially for his fellow veterans and their business success.
“To that end, he was always connecting people,” another member said. “He would email you or call you with a referral… with a connection that would enhance your project or business or life.”
Still others mentioned his mentorship.
“He saw leadership potential in everyone. He cared. He reached out. He saw your potential in you and your business.”
Mueller shared other memories — of endless cups of coffee, of taking time to get to know people.
“It wasn’t about what he could gain from the referrals,” one VetNet member said. “He didn’t have selfish motives. He thrived in seeing an event, like a MOAA chapter meeting or business professionals meeting well attended, making referrals and connections work, and seeing you and your business grow.”
For Mueller herself, the memories raised a question: How many lives did Carrigan touch?
“Sitting back, it makes me wonder how many lives did John Carrigan touch directly? Indirectly? How big was the impact he made in the Colorado Springs community, not just through Military Officers Association of America, but by caring and just touching people’s lives?” she said. “I know the Colorado Springs community will be stronger and a better place because of how John Carrigan touched our lives.”
Carrigan was born Feb. 17, 1945, to Bessie and Bernard Carrigan in Peoria, Ill, according to his obituary at the Swan Law webpage. He was the youngest of four children, and attended Bradley University before enlisting in the U.S. Army. Carrigan served as a helicopter pilot in the 119th Assault Helicopter Company from 1966 to 1970. He received two Purple Hearts during his service during the Vietnam Conflict, and was recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross, the nation’s fourth-highest award. He received the Air Medal for his service for this yearlong tour in Vietnam, according to his obituary.
He married Susan Montgomery on March 9, 1969, and the couple had three children. He worked for AMP/Tyco for 27 years as director of sales and marketing. The Carrigans moved to Colorado, where he joined the Pikes Peak Chapter of Military Officers of America and became chapter president in 2016.
Carrigan is survived by his wife, Susan (Montgomery) Carrigan; his three children: Amy (Carrigan) Ehm, Bryan Carrigan and Jennifer Carrigan; son-in-law Ron Ehm; two grandchildren, two brothers and a sister and several nieces and nephews.
The mass will be Thursday, Oct. 27 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi, 2605 Parish View. A reception will follow mass where a small lunch will be served.
A private burial with honors will take place at a later time at Fort Logan National Cemetery.