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Air Force captain’s gift to U of M has special meaning
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Air Force captain’s gift to U of M has special meaning
Capt. Timothy Donahoo and his wife, Amy, were on the cheerleading squad together at the U of M.
Capt. Timothy Donahoo and his wife, Amy, were on the cheerleading squad together at the U of M.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Timothy Donahoo was a freshman sitting in his 8 a.m. English class when the first hijacked airliner struck the World Trade Tower. “It is a day I will never forget, and the University of Memphis is the canvas on which that tragic memory is painted,” says Donahoo.

His words were in a letter accompanying an extraordinary gift to the U of M. Donahoo, now an Air Force captain in Afghanistan with Operation Enduring Freedom, has presented the University with an American flag and a U of M flag that flew over Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks. The flags also accompanied Donahoo on a combat mission in Afghanistan on Sept. 24.

Donahoo, (BPS ’05) who serves as a navigator with the 963rd Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron, made the gift on behalf of the University’s centennial celebration.

The Memphis flag almost didn’t arrive in time to be flown on the 10th anniversary. The manufacturer wouldn’t mail the flag to Donahoo’s APO address, so he had it shipped to his wife Amy, whom he met at the U of M. The flag then was routed incorrectly to her, but finally arrived in Afghanistan the evening of Sept. 10.

Donahoo displays the American flag and U of M flag that flew over Afghanistan.
Donahoo displays the American flag and U of M flag that flew over Afghanistan.

At the U of M, Donahoo was a member of the coed cheerleading squad and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He also was an orientation guide and a Frosh Camp counselor. Donahoo joined the Air Force ROTC and was commissioned as a second lieutenant the day after his graduation in December 2005.

“It has been my honor to serve my country for the past six years, and it was all made possible by the University of Memphis,” he wrote. “As a token of my appreciation for everything the University has done for me, I present these two flags.”

U of M President Shirley Raines read Donahoo’s letter at a recent event recognizing top University donors. During the campus Veterans Day ceremony, an AFROTC cadet presented the American flag and read an excerpt from the authenticity certificate confirming it was flown over Afghanistan in honor of the U of M.

“Capt. Donahoo’s success as a U of M student and dedicated member of the U.S. Air Force is a wonderful example of how the Air Force ROTC program develops today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders in career fields using their college degree,” said Lt. Col. Jacqueline Randolph, commander of AFROTC Detachment 785.

“Each gift to the University of Memphis is a reflection of the donor’s values,” said Bobby Prince, U of M associate vice president for Development. “The flags donated by Donahoo, and the spirit in which they were given, are especially meaningful because they clearly demonstrate his strong affinity for the University and his love for our country. We are very touched that he is acknowledging the impact the University has had on his life through this extremely thoughtful gift.”

— by Gabrielle Maxey

 

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