Local author Dr. Mel Simon will be available at the Library on Saturday, December 15 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM to autograph copies of his autobiography, Two Rivers, A World Apart. Copies of the book will be available for sale for $32.50.
Two Rivers, A World Apart tells the story of a young boy who spent most of his life along the banks of two rivers, the Pigalo River in his native country, the Philippines, and the Ohio River in the United States. Dr. Simon's formative years, as well as his struggle during the latter part of World War II under the yoke of Japanese tyranny, took place along the Pigalo River. Always in search of the American dream and against all odds, Dr. Simon managed to overcome hardship through sheer determinaton and hard work. Moving to America, he eventually settled along the Ohio River where he raised a family and pursued his professional career.
His boyhood pledge to give back to his community as well as the poor people in his native country was fullfilled by using as a platform his membership with the oldest and greatest service organization in the world, the Rotary International and Rotary Foundation. Through his affiliations, Operation We Care was born, and he was able to carry out, with his team of surgeons, doctors, nurses, and health-care givers, over thirty years of medical/surgical/dental missions in the different islands of the Philippines. These are in addition to his efforts to donate surgical equipment and hospital supplies, and construct several deep water wells in villages to curtail gastrointestinal diseases. Dr. Simon is also deepy involved in literacy and feeding programs for undernourished schoolchildren. For his work, he was recognized not only by the Rotary International and Rotary Foundation but also by five previous presidents of the Philippines.
Dr. Simon studied medicine at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, and completed his residency in Chicago. In 1966, he became chief of the Department of Urology at Holzer Hospital where he served patients from Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia until hs retirement. Dr. Simon has been recognized by the governor of Ohio for establishing the French 500 Free Clinic, a project with five volunteer physicans, nurses and health-care givers to extend help to poor, uninsured or underinsured patients. The University of Rio Grande's Chemistry lab and the surgical ward of the Region One Medical Center in Dagupan, Philippines have been named after Dr. Simon.