Matching Grant Challenge for Nisei WWII Monument

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Local Nisei veterans recently visited the foundry where the larger-than-life-size statue will be cast in bronze.

AUBURN, Calif. — The JACL needs the community’s help to complete a large bronze monument, “Rescue of the Lost Battalion,” which is dedicated to Americans of Japanese ancestry who served during World War II in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service — and to their families and fellow citizens who were interned during the war.

JACL chapters in Sacramento, Florin and Placer County are raising funds to complete a statue commemorating the 442nd’s rescue of the 36th Texas Battalion, also known as the “Lost Battalion,” after it was trapped behind enemy lines in France. The statue shows a Nisei soldier helping a wounded Texas soldier off the battlefield.

The foam version of France Borka’s 7-foot-tall sculpture is complete, and Ronnie Frostad, the foundry owner, has been detailing it in clay prior to preparing the molds for casting it in bronze. Local 442nd veterans Frank Kageta, Shig Yokote and Norman Kamada recently visited the foundry to see the project in progress.

A plaque telling the story of the 442nd has already been installed at the monument site, the Bill Santucci Placer County Justice Center in Roseville, and the county has named the adjacent street Go For Broke Road, using the 442nd’s motto. Additional plaques will focus on the MIS and the internment, and list Northern California Nisei veterans, including 100 from Placer County.

This memorial and a set of original educational materials will ensure that future generations remember that era when so many were challenged to prove their loyalty to America, organizing committee members said.

The Placer County JACL has received a challenge grant directed toward individual donors. Ken and Terry Yagura of Tahoe Vista have pledged to match up to $5,000 for individual donations of $250 or more. For example, if 20 individuals each donate $250, the Yaguras will contribute an additional $5,000. This offer expires Dec. 31.

“Please help us finish this important historical project,” said E. Ken Tokutomi, project chairman. “As we approach our goal of $160,000, we need approximately $30,000 to complete the monument and tell the story of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry who lived in our area – those who served in World War II and the thousands who were sent from their homes to internment camps at that time.

“The committee has combined a challenge donation form with a brick order form to enable you to honor a World War II veteran, an interned family or just a friend.”

Donations of any amount are appreciated. At the following levels, donors receive unique premiums.

Donor ($300 level): Engraved paving brick

Sponsor ($1,000 level): Commemorative bronze medallion (1 of 200)

Benefactor ($2,500 level): Commemorative bronze medallion (1 of 200) in custom case

Major Donor ($8,000 or more): Bronze scale model (maquette) of the sculpture (1 of 36)

For more information or to make a secure, tax-deductible donation, go to www.placerjacl.org. Checks can be mailed to Placer County JACL, 11850 Kemper Rd., Suite D, Auburn, CA 95603.

To discuss major gifts and sponsorship opportunities, contact Tokutomi at (530) 888-1303 or [email protected]

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for donating your time, money and friends to this awesome monument to the 442nd and 36th! I would like to know what it would cost to have a replica made and if your committee would allow this with the foundry and the artist? I live in Texas and would have a keen interest to show this monument to the City of Houston to see if they would agree to have it cast for a memorial in Houston. Of course this would take some time and I dont know if the plan was to break the cast/mold upon completion of the original pour? Just a thought?
    Thanks
    Donna Cole
    phone 713-725-8767

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