A valiant hero, a visionary, a courageous humanitarian ...
These words best describe Colonel Young Oak Kim, the founder and chairman emeritus of the Go For Broke Educational Foundation. The community, and especially the Educational Foundation, lost an extraordinary veteran last December.
After 8.5 years as a mentor to me as well as a guiding light for the Educational Foundation, we feel extremely fortunate to have known such an amazing individual. We all should be most grateful for the "gift" his leadership gave us. This gift is the beautiful Go For Broke Monument that proudly stands in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, serving as a constant reminder of the lessons of the Japanese American World War II experience. Colonel Kim eloquently talked about the "American Story," and the lessons of patriotism, loyalty, and honor. He had incredible foresight and vision to know that the sacrifices made by the 100/442 and MIS would result in a legacy that would touch and affect generations to come.
It is this legacy that we preserve through the Go For Broke Educational Foundation. And it is this legacy that lives within the families and friends of Japanese American WWII veterans. In this issue of "eTorch" you'll read about 442nd veteran Yasumi Omatsu and his family who were encouraged by this legacy. You'll learn that his story did not end with WWII. It was only the beginning.
Please take a moment to read about another great American story.
We must never forget.
Executive Director & President
Yasumi Omatsu would have made a first-rate rifleman in World War II. His scores at the M-1 shooting gallery during basic training earned him a Sharpshooter medal, just below the top rank of Expert.
Instead, Omatsu (who also went by James) was assigned to the headquarters company of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and placed in the intelligence and reconnaissance platoon. With his background in surveying and civil engineering, he became an artillery spotter where, instead of guns, his weapons were a telescope, a magnetic compass, and the principles of trigonometry. With two points and an angle, he could locate an enemy as accurately as any sharpshooter.
Instruments in hand, Omatsu trudged through Italy and France in five major campaigns, earning in the process a Bronze Star medal, the fourth highest military award given for bravery, heroism, or meritorious service.
Go For Broke Educational Foundation's Teacher Training Program
The Go For Broke Educational Foundation's teacher training program is back on track. After receiving a federal grant with the assistance of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard's office, the Educational Foundation will hold seven workshops in 2006.
With a revamped program and Teacher Training Coordinator Wayne Osako, a former 8th grade history teacher, the first one was conducted February 11-12 and was a tremendous success. Nearly 20 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers attended the two-day workshops held in the valley at Monroe High School and in Little Tokyo. The second LAUSD workshop will be held March 18-19 at Bravo Medical Magnet in East Los Angeles.
Click here for more information about the teacher training program.
Remembering Chairman Emeritus Colonel Young Oak Kim
The Go For Broke Educational Foundation sadly bids a fond farewell to Founding Chairman/Chairman Emeritus Colonel Young Oak Kim (Ret), who at age 86 passed away from cancer on December 29, 2005 in Los Angeles. His astute leadership, "go for broke" fortitude, and humanitarian spirit will be greatly missed especially by the Educational Foundation staff, board of directors, board of governors, and veterans.
Through all his years in the military and community involvement, Colonel Kim was most proud and fond of his service with the Nisei WWII veterans. Colonel Kim was one of the founders of the Go For Broke Educational Foundation and led the veterans for more than 10 years to build the Go For Broke Monument.
The Go For Broke Educational Foundation's annual raffle contest is underway. All members and supporters are encouraged to help by selling or buying booklets of 10 (at $2 per ticket). Donations are an investment in the future of the Educational Foundation and its programs, plus supporters have the opportunity to win up to $5,000.
All completed ticket stubs must be received by May 30, 2006. Winners will be drawn on June 3, 2006 at the Go For Broke Monument 7th Anniversary. Winners need not be present.
To order your raffle tickets please contact Julia Tominaga at (310) 222-5710 or .
In Our Heroes' Footsteps Looking for a way to support the Go For Broke Educational Foundation while honoring a special family member?
Click here for more information on In Our Heroes' Footsteps. Engrave a name today and become a part of history.
Jambalaya 4 tbsp. butter or margarine
3 stalks celery
1 large bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)