GFBNEC Virtual Gala Features First Living Nisei WWII Veteran Photo Tribute

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Fernando Joseph Sosa Masuda served as a corporal with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, from 4 to 5 p.m. PST; 2 to 3 p.m. HST, Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) will present a livestream broadcast of its 19th annual Evening of Aloha Virtual Gala (EOA).

In keeping with the spirit of community, family and sharing of stories, this year’s gala will incorporate the unique traditions of EOA that honor the Nisei veterans of WWII, while showcasing GFBNEC’s current and upcoming online educational programming and initiatives.

Major event sponsors include The Aratani Foundation, MUFG UBOC, N.A. and The Pacific Bridge Companies. The gala can be viewed on www.goforbroke.org, Facebook or YouTube. Viewers will be able to chat and engage with GFBNEC on Facebook and YouTube.

“For this year’s Evening of Aloha, we have engaged with a broad geographic audience of veterans, family members and friends in particular from Hawaii to share the Nisei veterans’ stories of courage, patriotism and sacrifice,” said Mitch Maki, GFBNEC president and CEO. “We are excited about the opportunity to once again extend our online presence. This past June, we had over 10,000 Monument Anniversary Tribute viewers. Subsequently thousands of viewers have watched our recent virtual public programming. This gala will illustrate further that the Nisei veterans experience is a compelling American story with relevance and significance to today.”

Hosted live by Maki and David Ono, ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor and member of GFBNEC’s Board of Directors, this EOA will retain all the celebratory hallmarks that make this event a true community highlight. The first virtual “Living Nisei WWII Photo Tribute,” which replicates one of the event’s most treasured moments — the recognition of the veterans onstage — is new to the gala this year.

GFBNEC has expanded the opportunity to all Nisei veteran organizations nationwide, allowing families and organizations to submit an in-service military and a current photo of each veteran. To date, the photos of close to 90 living veterans, ranging from age 92 to 102 years and from ten different states, will be featured during the EOA program.

GFBNEC’s volunteer committee consists of Ann Kabasawa, president of the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Education Center in Honolulu; Cindy Kondo from the Nisei Veterans Heritage Foundation in Denver; and Southern California-based family members of Nisei veterans, Peggy Mizumoto, Nancy Ogawa and James Sato.

GFBNEC did an extensive outreach to ensure that all living Nisei veterans were captured during this year’s gala. Organizations that assisted in outreach included: 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Education Center, 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Club-Mainland Chapter, Friends & Family of Nisei Veterans, Japanese American Veterans Association, Japanese American National War Memorial Court, National Veterans League, National Veterans Network, Nisei Veteran Memorial Center, Nisei Veterans Committee in Seattle, Nisei Veterans Committee Foundation, Nisei Veterans Heritage Foundation, Nisei Veterans Legacy, Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 442nd Veterans Club, and Maui Sons & Daughters.

These organizations also contributed to compiling a virtual “In Memoriam” listing of veterans who have passed since last year’s November EOA.

“I am so excited to have been able to help Go For Broke National Education Center with this very special veteran recognition,” stated Kabasawa. “While I will miss not being able to attend Evening of Aloha in person this year, the gala will be another memorable celebration of our Nisei WWII veterans. It is important for all to watch and learn about their legacy.”

To support its educational programming and outreach during these challenging economic times, GFBNEC will host an online “Fund the Future” campaign during the gala. Contributions will provide vital funds to support new educational initiatives, including expanded national outreach; enhanced online and social media presence; and dynamic online programming to engage younger, more diverse audiences.

Individual and corporate sponsorships for Evening of Aloha remain available. For more information on sponsorship, “Fund the Future” and related topics, contact the development office at [email protected] or call (310) 328-0907.

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