93 year-old Thelma Coyne can still tell you stories of her time in the Navy Nurse Corp during World War II — and when she was asked by Historic City News Editor Michael Gold this morning if she was surprised to see that her dress uniform still fit, she quipped “Why wouldn’t it? It’s going on the same body?”
St. Augustine has been Thelma’s home since August 18, 1917, and, even though she says that she “went away for forty years”, she has been back in town since 1979.
With some gentlemanly assistance from Marine Corp League officer Kevin McKeefery, Thelma graciously made her way to coffee at Athena’s Restaurant to celebrate Veteran’s Day — which she still remembers as Armistice Day — surrounded by friends from Basilica Cathedral.
Thelma left St. Augustine for New York to go to school in the late 1930’s and she says that “she just kept going”. Thelma says that she is proud to be a veteran and enjoyed her Navy service during the six years from 1939 to 1945.
The last thirty years, Thelma stays busy with activities that include working as a volunteer in her church.
Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News contributed photograph by Randy Brunson