Aquarium Helps Grant 104-Year-Old Woman's Wish to Pet a Penguin: 'Never Thought it Would Happen'

Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut was able to bring one of their African penguins to meet Bertha Komor — free of charge

bertha komor
Bertha Komor.

After a 104-year wait, Bertha Komor has met a penguin up close.

The 104-year-old, the oldest resident at the Village Gate of Farmington retirement community in Connecticut, spent most of her life wanting to pet a penguin, and on June 1, her dream came true.

Komor had her wish granted by her caretakers at the facility in partnership with the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, and the Twilight Wish Foundation.

"I never thought it would happen," Komor told NECN.

On Wednesday, the Mystic Aquarium introduced Komor to Red Green, a 35-year-old African penguin — and the aquarium's oldest African penguin.

"She's just an amazing person. To tell me she wanted to touch a penguin, I had to make that dream come true," Ashley Waddell, the enrichment coordinator at Village Gate of Farmington, told NECN of Komor.

After learning of Komor's dream, Waddell reached out to the aquarium and the Twilight Wish Foundation — an organization that works to grant senior citizens' wishes.

In a clip of the penguin encounter from WFSB, Komor gently pets Red Green the penguin as she is asked if the experience is what she expected.

"No, I didn't expect this — is wonderful," she said.

Though Wednesday's visit would have typically cost $1,700, it was free for Komor and her friends.

bertha komor
Bertha Komor and grandchild.

Komor told WFSB that the "best part was petting him and seeing him close up."

"I'm just so excited for her. I'm just so happy she has had this wish come true and just to have been in our life for as long as she has," Komor's grandchild, Karen Rivkin, who was able to join her grandmother for the special moment, told NECN.

NECN reported that Komor and her husband were married for 72 years and that the 104-year-old has three children, four grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

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