STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — The mission that successfully took down Osama Bin Laden has riveted our attention this week.

One of the people watching the events unfold in the White House Situation Room was Stillwater native Denis McDonough. He is the Deputy National Security Advisor.

McDonough went to St. Croix Catholic School in Stillwater. Ann Daniels was his first grade science teacher. She said “Dude” was his nickname at the school.

“I had Denis for science many, many years ago,” Daniels said. “He was such a dude, the first and only dude we’ve ever had in St. Croix Catholic School.”

Daniels said he emerged as a leader early on, to the point where many teachers noticed his ability to stand out.

“He always wore a tank top, and he was such a leader that the teacher he had for homeroom in second grade was almost intimidated by his demeanor because he was such a leader, very nice, very well behaved, very smart,” said Daniels.

Corliss Thomas was McDonough’s sixth grade teacher in 1981. She recalled an incident where she mispronounced his name.

“He spells his name D-E-N-I-S, one N and I read it very quickly so I said ‘Denise McDonough.’  “I don’t think he forgave me all year, he was like, he was not a girl,” said Thomas.

Brad Junker went to high school with McDonough and said he has always had the characteristics of a leader.

“He was a trend setter and leader as far back as Junior High, in football and High School as well…getting us roused up for everything, great individual,” Junker said.

McDonough is one of 11 kids. He graduated from St. John’s University summa cum laude with a degree in history.

All of his former colleagues said they are proud of the hometown kid.

“I just could not imagine being in that position in anyway shape, or form and the fact that he was part of it, is just amazing, that someone who went to school here is part of such an historic event,” said Daniels.

“Another local boy done well,” Junker said.

Sonya Goins, WCCO-TV Producer
Contact Sonya

Comments (12)
  1. Gimme a break says:

    Gimme a break. Anyone else want to take credit for the death of Osama?

    1. Go break yourself says:

      Where does it say he took credit? You sound petty and jealous

  2. Mike says:

    O.K it is a private school, but a first grade science teacher? I had one teacher all day.
    All of his former colleagues? At what? you mention no previous jobs, let alone in MN. I think maybe we are so proud that we published a bit of fluff so Minnesotan’s could puff.

  3. pj says:

    Blackwater / Stillwater / Tap water / Running on Water. Aren’t we glad we know this tid·bit?

  4. Hot Hot Hillary says:

    Yep, I admit it, I am jealous. I would give anything to be that close to Hillary.

  5. Big Guy says:

    I don’t want to take credit for the operation but, I did stay at a Holiday Inn that night……

    1. Cass says:

      Hahaha! Love it!

  6. Liberals love Taxation without limit says:

    IT’s too bad he’s working for the least transparent, most polarizing, greatest spending President in history….and it is not because of the color of his skin but the appearance of his keeping his campaign promises and changing the atmosphere in Washington working together……….of which he pretty much LIED!. Sure glad we got Bin Laden, thank enhanced interrogation………without it we would not have gotten him…….period. Sure glad this president got rid of that, of course we still train our own troops with it, must be terrible…….scaring them like that…………

  7. tr says:

    ….really…..i dont see anything grand about him or his position or the fact that he was there other than he probably is earning pretty good money. People just think any kind of celebrity is worth gushing over especially if they can somehow connect themselves to the one in question….i know the cab driver who gave so and so a ride to this or that meeting…or my cousin is a barber who cuts so and so’s hair…..or Joe so and so is a deputy chief assistant to so and so…..get over it.

  8. priscilla says:

    hey let us people from Stillwater have a little fame. I knew denis and his family. they are a great family. we knew him as dude. But his family lived up the steps from a park and they were the type of family that you could use there basket ball hoop or just to get a drink of water. I am proud of denis always a very nice young man

  9. Tom says:

    Congratulations, WCCO. You are now the leader and odds-on favorite in the So-Desperate-to-Find-A-Connection-We-Will-Emulate-A-High-School-Newspaper Sweepstakes.

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