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A Veteran Helping Veterans

Harry Donovan, 88, describes serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II as “the proudest moment of my life.” He was only 17 when he enlisted in 1944, a coxswain on a transport ship that took troops ashore. A Purple Heart veteran, he survived seven invasions in the Pacific, including an enemy attack on his ship that left him seriously wounded.

Only a few months after recovering from serious wounds, Harry Donovan (third from left) waded ashore with General Douglas MacArthur (fourth from left) on his historic return to the Philippines in October 1944.

Mr. Donovan returned to civilian life a grateful man. He never forgot – nor stopped helping – other veterans. In honor of his track record of generosity to veterans, he was named Summit County Veteran of the Year in 2012. In 2013, he helped to open Valor Home, a shelter for homeless veterans in Akron.

In 2014, Mr. Donovan and his wife, Fran, made a major gift to Summa Health, inspired by the work of Joseph D. Varley, MD, the Jim and Vanita Oelschlager Chair in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, and chair, Department of Psychiatry; and Patrick Palmieri, PhD, director of Summa Health Traumatic Stress Center – one of only a few of its kind in the nation.

In the fall of 2015, Harry and Fran Donovan were honored for their philanthropic leadership with the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northeast Ohio Chapter.


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