GALLIPOLIS — Two Rivers, a World Apart is the autobiography of Dr. Mel Simon; a young boy who spent most of his life by the banks the Pigalo River in his native country, the Philippines, and as a young man by the banks of the Ohio River in continental USA. Both rivers serve as the backdrop in this story of a young boy searching for the American dream. Against all odds he managed to overcome struggles through determination and hard work. Supporters say, above all, he has continued to believe that his deep faith and trust in God has propelled him to higher accomplishments.
A book signing and presentation will be held Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. at the Ariel Opera House regarding Simon’s work.
Simon’s boyhood pledge to give back to his adopted community, as well as give back to the poor people in his native country, was fulfilled by using as a platform the Rotary International and Rotary Foundation. Through Simon’s affiliations, “Operation We Care” was born. He, along with his team of surgeons, doctors, nurses, and health-care givers, have been able to carry out over 30 years of medical, surgical, and dental missions in the islands of the Philippines. These are in addition to his unceasing efforts to improve villages and curtail gastrointestinal diseases by donating surgical equipment and hospital supplies as well as constructing several deep water wells. He also supports literacy and feeding programs for undernourished schoolchildren.
Simon has been recognized for his work not only by the Rotary International and Rotary Foundation but also by five previous presidents of the Philippines.
Several establishments have been named for Simon, including the Dr. Mel P. Simon and Lydia Chemistry Lab at the University of Rio Grande, the surgical ward of the Region One Medical Center in Dagupan, Philippines, and others.
Simon was also nominated for the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame on May 24, 2010, by the Governor of the State of Ohio for establishing the French 500 Free Clinic – a project utilizing five volunteer physicians, as well as nurses, and health-care givers – which extends help to poor, uninsured, or under–insured patients.