Skip to main content
Main Penn College Website

Bagpiper Grants Veteran’s Dying Wish

A bagpiper pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Pennsylvania College of Technology helped to make a terminally ill World War II veteran’s dying wish come true when he played outside the man’s Montgomery County home on July 26.

“I can’t believe this. I hope I deserve it,” 96-year-old Harry Snyder told a WTXF television reporter after Jeffrey T. Steen, an applied management student from Coatesville, played. Snyder’s wish was to hear bagpipes before they play at his funeral, the television station reported. According to the account, he has cancer.

A deputy game warden for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Steen is active in veteran and law enforcement communities. A friend who is a Marine veteran and knows Snyder arranged the service.

“We try to honor our veterans and first responders as often as we can with services such as this,” Steen said.

Steen also plays in parades, at memorial dedications, at military and first-responder award ceremonies, and at military and first-responder funeral services. In 2010, he was invited to play in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Killorglin, Ireland, and while there, he played at the Cliffs of Moher.

“I have been playing seriously for almost 15 years,” Steen said. “I have always had an affection for the pipes and visited Scotland in 2006 to visit my forefathers’ ancestral home. The trip fueled the pipe passion beyond just listening to them.”

To be called upon to grant Snyder’s wish is an honor he will always cherish.

“We are the last generation to know our World War II veterans and the sacrifices they gave for our freedoms,” Steen said. “Every veteran I encounter has a story. To hear those stories keeps them alive and relevant for future generations. I carry their legacies and cherish the memories of providing them with an ever-so-brief tribute – the least I can do.”

Having already earned an associate degree, Steen is completing his bachelor’s degree in applied management online.

“I was led to Penn College by its reputation for excellence and online degree programs designed for the working student,” Steen said. “Penn College has provided people like me the opportunity to finish their degrees while working full time. … I have been in the workforce for 31 years. It has taught me that you are never too old to learn. I have really enjoyed the applied management program and can speak to how relevant the material is to the workplace.”

Related Stories

Some of the Pennsylvania College of Technology physical therapist assistant students and employees who helped to plant trees at Trailing Pines Tree Farm in Muncy as part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership. Front row (from left): 
Sierra K. Page, of Morrisdale; Daniella M. Pace, of Harding; Erica L. Gallagher, of Wyoming; and Matt Echevarria, of Carlisle. Back row (from left): Justin J. Forbes, of Coal Township; James A. Hardman, of Trout Run; Corbyn R. Schrader, of Canton; Emily E. Longenecker, of Hummelstown; Keyona Shoff, of Shamokin; Kiara M. Carr, of Middleburg; and Christine A. Tilburg, clinical director of the physical therapist assistant program. Alumni
Students help meet Pennsylvania’s 10 million trees goal
Read more
The National Science Foundation recently honored Pennsylvania College of Technology alumnus Gregory C. Ditzler, a Lebanon County native, with a Faculty Early Career Development Award, the NSF’s most prestigious grant to faculty in their first academic assignment. Ditzler is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Arizona (which provided the photo). Alumni
Penn College alum honored with NSF faculty award
Read more
Millersville native Matthew M. Staub, a 2007 graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology, is a printed circuit board design engineer for Google’s Pixel hardware group in Chicago. Staub served as a lead designer for the Pixel 3XL and Pixel 4, Google’s Android smartphones. Alumni
Penn College grad ‘designs’ a success story at Google
Read more