PRINCETON — Bob McDonald's great-granddaughter will be a senior in high school next year and just received her license, both of which the 90-year-old has trouble believing.
She told him about it over the phone and he took the chance to tell her he drove for 75 years, which he also can't believe. The Princeton native loved driving from "day one" and took the chance any time he could.
Whether it was during a part-time job as a teen, the time he was offered to take a Model T for a spin, or when he joined the United States Army National Guard and became a full-time technician.
McDonald spent 41 years in the National Guard and held various roles throughout that time, but he most enjoyed the one that brought him in contact with driving and maintaining various vehicles.
"The one that I was in the longest and put the most into was a support of all of the maintenance of several armories in the area," McDonald said. "Teaching them how to take care of their equipment and use it of course."
This Saturday McDonald won't be driving, but boarding a plane on his way to Washington D.C. as a part of the Honor Flight of Southern Indiana. The non-profit organization flies veterans to D.C. to visit various memorials such as Arlington National Cemetery and the WWII Memorial.
McDonald is a resident at RiverOaks Health Campus, which has worked with the Honor Flight two times previously to send veterans on the trip. McDonald said he was really honored to be included because he did not serve in combat.
"I have the highest regard of guys that had active duty and served," he said.
McDonald joined the National Guard when he was 18 and worked various roles, including administration and supply before finding that fit in maintenance.
"It wasn't a case that I disliked the others, but it was more to my liking," he said. "I had been in the administrative side of it, but that was a little out of my realm of what I liked."
McDonald said those 41 years of service opened up many opportunities for him.
"It's given me an opportunity to meet a lot of different people in my services and different meetings and such," he said. "I feel I have been honored in knowing several generals."
McDonald said it sounds like bragging, but he met many generals as they went through the ranks and remained on a first-name basis with them.
While McDonald met a lot of great people through the National Guard, he said he's now lost a lot of them too.
"In some respect, I can't get over all the buddies and friends I've lost," he said.
Even with those losses, McDonald said at 90 he still tries to have fun — something he connects a little to being born on St. Patrick's Day.
"If there's any way of having fun," he said, "I'm going to have it."
McDonald will be joined by three other Gibson County veteran's on this Saturday's trip: Jerry Garrett of Ft. Branch; Charles Sandefur Jr. of Princeton; and Reuben Scholz of Princeton.