Donald Shaffer was born on June 11, 1932, and grew up on a farm in New Albany, Pennsylvania. He was raised with a passion for the outdoors, where he learned to enjoy hunting and fishing with his friends and family. At the age of twenty-one, Donald enlisted in the United States Army. Donald served in the U.S. Army from April 1954 until March 1956, and continued to serve his country in the Army Reserves until 1959. After enlisting at the age of twenty one, he went to basic training in Fort Knox Kentucky for six months before he was stationed in Frankfort, Germany; serving in the Tank Battalion during the Korean Conflict.