HAZELWOOD, MO - Blues goalie Brian Elliott will wear a special Veterans Day-themed mask when the Blues meet the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at Scottrade Center.
The mask was delivered to Elliott by World War II veteran Charles Rohde, who met the team after Monday’s practice at the Ice Zone.
"It's definitely an honor getting (the mask) from Mr. Rohde, someone that's been through something that we've only read (about) in books," Elliott said. "He's a hero. It's an honor to be in his presence, for sure."
Rohde, 92, lives in St. Louis and was a technical sergeant in the 267th AAA AW Battalion during World War II. He was part of battles in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe. He was there on D-Day, too, where he saw a nearby truck get hit with burning metal and debris. While taking fire, Rohde raced to the truck and saved the TNT, ammunition and records that were inside.
Since then, Rohde has been awarded five bronze battle stars from the U.S. Army. He’s also won the Bronze Star Medal, the fourth-highest individual military award. And for his heroic efforts on D-Day, France awarded him with the Legion of Honor award, the country’s highest honor.
Elliott will eventually auction the mask, which was designed by Head Strong Grafx, with proceeds being donated to charity.
“It’s really amazing how when people come up to you and tell you ‘thanks’ or ‘hi’…it works," Rohde said Monday morning. "It helps. They’re helping you feel much better about Veteran’s Day.”
The Blues will honor Rohde and others like him with Tuesday’s Salute to Military Night at Scottrade Center. Players will wear special camouflage jerseys during warmups and volunteers will collect care package donations for the troops. Fans that donate will receive raffle tickets for a chance to win one of the camouflage jerseys.
Fans can also stand up and salute those that have served in the military by picking up a “Thank You For Your Service” sign outside Sections 101, 108, 123 and 304. Signs should be completed before the end of the first intermission and will be used during a special in-game moment on Tuesday.
For more information on the Salute to Military Game, visit www.stlouisblues.com/military