Ponoka veteran celebrates 90th birthday at legion


By Adam Jackson

When you live for 90 years, you are guaranteed to see a lot of change — and it is no different for Second World War veteran Harold Donaghy.

Donaghy celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends July 17 at the Ponoka branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

“It’s amazing to have everyone here,” said Donaghy. “Everyone did a lot of work to make this happen.”

Born and raised just north Ponoka, this is an area that has always meant a lot to him.

“I’m impressed that I still remember a lot of the details of growing up on the farm, even back to when I was six or seven years old,” said the quick-witted Donaghy.

A lot has happened to Donaghy between then and now, including a stint with the Canadian Armed Forces overseas.

Donaghy wanted to enlist in the army when war broke out in 1939, but his father needed him on the family farm more than the military did. Donaghy didn’t have much of a choice in the end though, as his age group had been called upon to serve.

“It was an incredible experience being in the army, it has had a major impact on my life,” said Donaghy. “I got to go places that I never would have imagined and I actually met my wife there.”

After years of service, Donaghy was discharged due to an injury and went back to Canada, where his wife, Freda, followed him.

In the following years, Donaghy worked hard to get his life together, working various jobs and eventually settled down at a plastics company in Edmonton as a millwright.

Following that, Donaghy and his wife lived in many different parts of Western Canada before finally moving to Calgary, where he currently resides.

It has been a bit of a wild ride for Donaghy through his life, and recent changes have caused him a small amount of trouble.

“If you would have told me when I was growing up that we would put a man on the moon, I would have thought that you were crazy,” said Donaghy. “But sure enough, they did it.”

Donaghy also has a philosophy on life that he was sure to instill upon his children.

“Always remember the good things in life and forget the bad stuff that happens.”