I would like to thank Tom Hogate of Veterans Outreach Ministries for helping all veterans and their families in any way they can. It is an honor for me to write my biography for this quarter’s publication.

Born in Philadelphia, my first encounter with the military was as a child watching Rin Tin-Tin on television. From Combat to Star Trek, those shows and others always intrigued me about the men and women’s fearlessness under stressful conditions. Yes, I know it was television and created in a “controlled” setting, but nevertheless, I was captivated. My father served in the “Forgotten War,” which I know we will never forget, and was fortunate not to come back with any lifelong scars. He did come back with a picture of Jerry Lewis in Paris while on leave.

After I graduated from North East H.S., I went from college to college and from job to job to find my niche in life. After some considerable thought and weighing the few non-existent options, I volunteered, at the age of 23, and joined the United States Air Force. To this day, it was the best career choice I have ever made.

My first plane ride was basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, two days before Thanksgiving. After receiving radio communication training in Biloxi, Mississippi, I was off to Ft. Meade, Maryland, for the next year and a half. The next orders I received sent me to England, where I spent the next 3-1/2 years.

Following my honorable discharge, with a college degree,  believe it or not, I still went from job to job and finally ended up as a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, where I still work to this day.

Recently I have become involved with a newly created organization called Vetbaseball. It is a non-profit organization that takes veterans to MLB games at no charge to the veteran or caregiver. It was started in Miami by another long-time friend and Army veteran, and we now have a chapter in Philadelphia. We have taken veterans from the Veterans Multi-Service Center to two Phillies games this past year and are looking forward to more this upcoming year.

Looking back on my past experiences in the Air Force, I have to say that it has taught me the value of friendship and loyalty, and compassion. For you should not judge a person by their successes, but how they deal with their failures.

Hal Doner, SGT.


The United States Air Force

Read more articles from VOM Magazine here: https://www.veteransoutreachministries.org/vom-magazine/