Irene Nakagawa Named JANM Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer

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Irene Nakagawa (center) receives JANM’s 2010 Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer Award from Kirby Tanimura, son of the late Miki Tanimura, and award recipient Helen Yasuda. (Photo by Nobuyuki Okada)

The Japanese American National Museum held its 2010 Volunteer Recognition Awards event in early June in its Aratani Central Hall, highlighted by the presentation of its Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer Award to Irene Nakagawa.

Museum staff presented several other awards to volunteers as recognition for years of service.

The 2009 Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer Award recipient, Helen Yasuda, made the presentation to Nakagawa, who was lauded for her long hours, willingness to help in all areas and devotion to the museum. Kirby Tanimura, whose parents were killed in a plane accident almost 20 years ago, represented the family and spoke of the meaning of the award. He was joined at the event by his sisters Teri, Lori, and Cheri and their families.

Other volunteers who received individual awards were Julia Murakami, Administration Award; Fujiko Takeda and Ruthie Kitagawa, Community Awards; Wayne Iwahashi, Program Award; and James and Midori Uyeda, Museum Family Spirit Award.

The museum also recognizes volunteers for the years of service, including for one year, five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and 25 years. Only one person qualified for 25 years: Masako Murakami. Four volunteers — Philip Crouch, Hal Keimi, Hitoshi Sameshima and Robert Uragami — were presented 20-year pins.

The volunteer event is unique in that the honorees are not aware they will be recognized. It is only when a museum staff member reads off the names that they know they are the recipients of these awards.

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