Mt. Pleasant Navy veteran, 102, to be honored at Penguins game
Melva Dolan Simon has been listening to Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games on the radio for years.
But, in all of her 102 years of life, she’s never been to a game.
That will change Saturday, when the Mt. Pleasant Township native, who served in the Navy WAVES during World War II, will be a special guest of the Penguins and among those honored as part of the team’s Veterans Day program at PPG Paints Arena.
“She’s excited to go,” said her son, Joseph. “Ten of us are going Saturday.”
Simon recently shared her memories of serving in the Navy auxiliary unit with the Tribune-Review and with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
She left her secretarial job at Hurst High School in Norvelt to enroll in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in October 1942. She was assigned to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where she took care of office tasks and chauffeured officers.
“It was a wonderful experience. I would do it all again,” she told the Tribune-Review.
Before recognizing Simon, during a TV timeout, the Penguins will begin the 7 p.m. game against Chicago with a Veterans Day-themed video and a flag presentation by the Marine Corps.
Penguins players will honor veterans and active troops by wearing camouflage jerseys in their pre-game warmup. The jerseys will be autographed and auctioned online, with proceeds benefiting the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania.
The auction runs from 6 p.m. Saturday until noon Nov. 15. Fans can text PENSJERSEY to 52182 or visit PENSJERSEY.givesmart.com to place bids.
Veterans from the Veterans Leadership Program and their guests will watch the game from suites provided by the Penguins, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
The Penguins will hold an empty “Seat of Honor” in the arena to remember those who serve in the military, including those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
During the night of the game, a Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum exhibit featuring World War II uniforms and memorabilia will be displayed in the arena’s Highmark Hallway.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .