The Williamsport Community Woodshop Veterans Program, a part of Factory Works, the 501(c)3 non-profit located in the Pajama Factory, honored Army veteran Donald Koons, this past weekend , for his courageous military service and celebrated his 100th birthday. Don is a valued member of the woodshop and still comes to work on projects like building birdhouses.
“The Veterans Program was created to serve the region’s veterans that have been honorably discharged so that they are able to spend time with other veterans that have been through the same experience of combat and peacetime military service” explained Tim Higgins, the organizer.
Donald Koons enlisted in the Army Air Corps, a predecessor to the Air Force, during World War II. He flew 35 missions over Europe as a member of the 401st bomber group and was a ball turret gunner, one of the most dangerous jobs in history. His crew helped liberate France by bombing Nazi German positions in occupied France including Le Bourget, an airfield near Paris, and Brest, a strategic coastal city in northwestern France. Koons estimates his crew flew half a dozen missions in France that targeted German positions and troops. He later retired in 1945.
The event included a very impressive BBQ for the Williamsport community and a silent auction with some of the beautiful wood pieces made by woodshop members. US Congressman Fred Keller, PA State Representative Jeff Wheeland and County Commissioner Rick Miribito were all on hand to congratulate Don and his lovely ‘better half” Bertie.