Pearl Harbor survivor recognized by district administrators
Pearl Harbor is more than a history lesson to Don Forney – it’s part of his personal memoir. Friday, April 25, Jim Vanatsky’s World History classes at Loveland High School (LHS) were privileged to hear the story straight from the man who lived it.
“Mr. Forney has spoken to an estimated 2,000 students the past nine years he has come to present at LHS,” said Vanatsky. “I first met Mr. Forney through my father who worked with him for a government aerospace contractor in Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Forney was 12 years old at the time of the attack on December 7, 1941, and was living on the army base at Hickam Field immediately next to Pearl Harbor.”
Vanatsky said Mr. Forney is estimated to be one of the few remaining individuals who took pictures during the actual attack as he snuck out the back of his house during a lull in the raid to use his new Brownie box camera he had received on his birthday. One of his three photos was shown to the students during his presentation.
On hand for the April 25 visit – Loveland Superintendent Chad Hilliker and LHS Principal Chris Kloesz – who together formally recognized and thanked Mr. Forney for his contribution to Loveland students.
“Mr. Forney’s personal experience with witnessing the beginning of the attack through his bedroom window while reading a comic book and his family’s harrowing escape off the base as his family’s car was strafed while traffic was bottlenecked near the exit of base, leaving seven elongated ricochet marks on the top of their car were unique and interesting for the students,” said Vanatsky. “What is better than hearing from someone who was there?”
Vanatsky said Mr. Forney’s amazing adventure didn’t end with Pearl Harbor. Forney graduated from Texas A&M University in Industrial Engineering with a specialty in metallurgy, and he then worked for a large gun factory in Houston during the Korean War. Forney also worked as a plane crash investigator before moving on to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He currently resides in Troy.
Photo caption: Loveland Superintendent Chad Hilliker (left) and LHS Principal Chris Kloesz (right) present Pearl Harbor Survivor Don Forney (center) with a certificate and Tiger shirt to recognize the positive impact he has had on Loveland students.