Glynn recalled how McGinnis wrote his aspirations on his application to the school, and never wavered from his military goals.
On Sunday, McGinnis, 23, a Marine sergeant, was one of three men who died when a helicopter crashed at a supply and refueling point in southern Iraq. The cause of the crash was not known, but military officials said enemy fire wasn't involved.
McGinnis' wife, Megan, was returning to her family in New Castle, Del., yesterday, from Camp Pendleton, California, where McGinnis had been stationed.
In Woodbury Heights, N.J. yesterday, yellow ribbons and American flags hung outside the home of his father, William McGinnis, a former assistant fire chief who has one other son in the military.
A family member said they wanted privacy.
Earlier in the day, a sign in the front yard with McGinnis' picture read:
"In loving memory of Sgt. Brian McGinnis who made the ultimate sacrifice."
The town has poured out its love and support for the family, a co-worker of William McGinnis' said. Friends filled the house on Monday when they heard the news.
A sign outside the Woodbury Heights firehouse read: "Our deepest sympathies to the family of Sgt. Brian McGinnis."
The mayor and other officials have paid respects to the family and the town is considering naming a park after their fallen hometown hero, a firefighter said.
"Everybody's really come together," said the firefighter, who declined to give his name.
William McGinnis was very proud of his son's career, and would talk about it a lot, the firefighter said, adding that another McGinnis son was also in the military.
McGinnis' mother, Mildred Williams, of Port Charlotte, Fla., confirmed her son's death yesterday.
"Yes, he died in a helicopter crash, the Marines are here right now with us," she said, declining to speak further.
McGinnis transferred to William Penn High School in New Castle in his junior year. He starred in wrestling and soccer. Jack Holloway, who coached McGinnis in wrestling at William Penn said he encouraged McGinnis to go to college, but McGinnis already was determined to become a Marine.
"He said he already had his mind made up about it," Holloway said. "It's kind of unusual. Most high school kids don't have their minds made up like that. But Brian knew he wanted a military career. He even knew he wanted the Marines."
Holloway said McGinnis did well at William Penn, even though he enrolled halfway through.
"The kids on the team took to him right away," he said. "In the first year, he had a tough time. He broke his hand. But he stuck it out and stayed with it. In his senior year, he was a varsity starter and went on to finish fifth in the state."
McGinnis met Megan Mahoney, whom he later married, at William Penn. On the door of the Mahoneys' New Castle house yesterday hung a small flag drawn by a child, with the words, "I love the U.S.A. in honor of my uncle Brian." *