Dick Thornburgh, the U.S. Attorney General from 1988 until 1991, will participate to a tribute to his son on Wednesday at the Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh, according to a release on PR Newswire.
In 1960, Thornburgh had to endure a family tragedy: his wife died in a car accident in which his younger child, Peter, suffered traumatic brain injuries.
A few years after the accident, Thornburgh remarried. His new wife, Ginny Thornburgh, became vocal advocates for the disabled. She played a major role in the legislative process leading to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Today, she runs the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in Washington, D.C.
In 1964, the couple decided to send Peter to The Home for Crippled Children (as the Children’s Institute was then known), in a new rehabilitation program. Through the program, Peter was able to make great progress and regain a lot of his abilities.
Thornburgh was Governor of Pennsylvania from 1979 to 1987. He and his wife have kept strong links with the Children’s Institute over the years, Peter’s older brother currently serving as the Vice-Chair of the Board. On Wednesday, the ceremony will be dedicated to Peter, the first patient of the new program, and a room, the Peter Thornburgh Patient Care Services Suite, will be named after him.