Donny Oaks Jr.
Donald S. Oaks Jr., Donny, as his loving family and friends call him, grew up in Harborcreek, PA with his best friend, his sister Amber, by his side. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing baseball growing up. He followed in his fathers and grandfathers footsteps as an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Donny had a giant sense of humor and had many friends to share it with. After graduating high school in 2000, Donny decided to join the Army to gain military benefits to help pay for his higher education. He graduated boot camp at Fort Knox Kentucky. He deployed to Iraq from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in late January 2003. He was assigned to the C Battery, 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery Regiment as a gunner in a Multiple Launch Rocket System. On April 3, 2003, he was tragically killed by friendly fire, at the mere age of 20. Donny was just 3 weeks shy of his 21st birthday when the war had taken his life. When he joined the Army he turned to writing poetry to express his daily struggles. During his time overseas he relied heavily on letters from home, phone calls to his family, support from his fellow Red Dragon comrades and prayer to get by. Donny was a strong spirited person who always gave his all. The day before he was killed in action he received his Sergeant rank, for which he passed his interview with flying colors. Since his passing his family and friends have made it their mission to ensure he remains honored for his sacrifice. In June 2006, the 1,100-foot span over Wintergreen Gorge was dedicated as the Sgt. Donald S. Oaks Memorial Bridge by the State Legislature. In 2010, The Fallen Soldiers Picnic was started in his honor and memory, so that he and other American heroes will never be forgotten.
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