The Japanese American National Museum held its 2010 Volunteer Recognition Awards breakfast on June 10 and honored six volunteers for their dedication and excellent service to the Museum, its visitors and supporters. Recognition was also given to volunteers for length of service, including the presentation of the first 25 Years of Service pin to Masako Murakami.
The Museum’s Volunteer Recogntion Awards event is unique in that the recipients do not know they have been chosen for their awards. Only the committee members and Museum staff know the names of the recipients. Museum staff make the presentations and all work very hard to describe the merits of the awardee without revealing his or her name.
The highlight of the event each year is the presentation of the Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer Award, the highest honor given to a volunteer, for exceptional contributions to the Museum. Miki Tanimura was a member of the Museum’s original board in the 1980s and she was in charge of the volunteers. She and her husband were killed in a plane accident. All of their children (Kirby, Teri, Lori and Cheri) attended this ceremony. Kirby spoke for the family and 2009 Tanimura Award recipient Helen Yasuda made the presentation this year. The 2010 recipient (and much to her surprise) was Irene Nakagawa.
Community Awards were given to Fujiko Takeda, who could not attend, and Ruthie Kitagawa. Julia Murakami received the Administration Award, while Wayne Iwahashi was presented the Program Award. James and Midori Uyeda, recipients of the Museum Family Spirit Award, had to be lured to the event by their relative, George Takei, Chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees. The Uyedas were not intending to come to the event, so Museum personnel told them that it was George who was going to receive a surprise award.
Thanks to Nobuyuki Okada for the photos & thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers for their dedication & commitment to the museum!