Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune will present Alvina Pettigrew, a veteran of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) organization during World War II, with an oil painted portrait of her by artist Cynthia Berry, of Great Falls, Virginia. A digital version of the portrait decorates a historic emergency call box in Washington, DC. During the war, Pettigrew served in secrecy at the Naval Communications Annex, deciphering Nazi naval commands. The callbox painting is near the site of the historic Communications Annex, and it serves as a memorial to the work of Pettigrew and other women who labored in secret to aid the war effort.

"Women like South Dakota's own Alvina Pettigrew contributed significantly to the intelligence and home front efforts in World War II," said Thune. "It will be a high honor to present her with the painting that commemorates her service and that of her WAVES comrades who worked diligently and in secret to protect Allied sailors from the advanced German navy."

Senator Thune will present the painting to Mrs. Pettigrew at Bethesda Parkside Retirement Community at 1324 12th Avenue in Aberdeen, on Saturday, January 17th at 4:30 PM Central Time.

Alvina Elizabeth (Schwab) Pettigrew was born on March 15, 1919, on a farm near Mina, South Dakota. She graduated from Mina High School and then attended Grand Island Business College in Grand Island, Nebraska on a scholarship. She enlisted in the WAVES in October, 1942, and following three months of training in Stillwater, Oklahoma, she was stationed at the Naval Communications Annex in Washington, DC. She served until October 19, 1945, when she was honorably discharged. Upon returning to Aberdeen, she married the late George Pettigrew, a veteran who served in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. They had five children and eight grandchildren.