Hometown Hero honored by granddaughter at PPL Center Center
Skylar L. Gutman, a sophomore at Parkland High School, had the honor of singing to her grandfather Matt “Mathias” Francis Gutman at a recent Phantoms Hockey game at PPL Center, Allentown.
The World War II veteran, who lives in Lower Macungie Township with his wife Arlene, was honored as a “Hometown Hero” Dec. 16, 2015.
He returned to the PPL Center recently to be honored once again and have his granddaughter sing “God Bless America” by his side, said Kathy Gutman, Skylar’s mother.
“Skylar was chosen to sing at the game on the recommendation of the Lehigh Valley Veterans History Project,” Kathy Gutman said. “She has been singing for veterans at many events since she was 10 years old.”
A panel chooses the nominees, Kathy Gutman explained.
Singing is a big part of Skylar’s life.
“She would always sing everywhere she went, no matter where she went,” Kathy Gutman stated. “Music has always been her passion.
“She is a singer-songwriter and plays piano, violin and she taught herself guitar.
“When she was in the fifth grade, one of her music teachers discovered she had ‘perfect pitch.’”
Skylar is involved in everything theatrical including community theater, the high school choral, plays, musical theater and district chorus.
Skylar commented on singing at the Phantoms game.
“It was such a thrilling experience to be singing for the Phantoms hockey,” she said. “It is by far the largest crowd I have ever performed in front of.
“However, not only was it an honor singing at the PPL Center, but I was so proud to be standing next to my grandfather, who is a World War II veteran and a ‘Hometown Hero.’”
Kathy Gutman explained how Matt Gutman was selected.
The Lehigh Valley Veterans History Project submitted his name because of his World War II contributions, which included invading five Japanese islands in the South Pacific where he pilot landed aircraft for the Marines, Kathy Gutman said.
Born in Allentown, Gutman attended Herbst Elementary School, Harrison Morton Junior High School and Allentown High School in 1943. He enlisted in the Navy June 15, 1943.
He was a chief petty officer with the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1965.
Gutman later enlisted in the Navy Reserves Aug. 5, 1955 and served as an instructor.
On Jan. 1, 1965, he volunteered for temporary active duty as a recruiter with assignments at Folsom, Bethlehem and Allentown Naval Reserve Training Centers in Pennsylvania.
He retired from his Navy career with an honorable discharge in 1973.