Volunteers honored for service to Battleship Missouri Memorial

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Several volunteers were honored for their dedicated service to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the USS Missouri.

The official caretaker, USS Missouri Memorial Association, presented them with awards during a private ceremony held aboard Battleship Missouri Memorial.

An engraved, polished plaque was presented to each awardee recognizing their commitment and service. The plaques carried special significance as they were made by volunteers, for volunteers from pieces of the Missouri’s famed teak wood decks that were removed as part of its ongoing maintenance. Some of the teak dates back to 1991 when the battleship was last in service.

“We are extremely grateful to all of our devoted volunteers, and congratulate these awardees for their exceptional motivation in selflessly giving back to the Mighty Mo,” said Michael Carr, president and CEO of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. “Each volunteer brings a commitment and enthusiasm that is absolutely critical to the daily upkeep and operation of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. They ensure we’ll be able to continue sharing the Missouri’s place in history for many generations to come.”

In 2014 alone, the Missouri’s legion of volunteers donated a total of 40,474 hours worth of service, totaling 8,681 days and valued at more than $700,000 in in-kind support.

Volunteer work ranges from laborious maintenance projects associated with the upkeep of the gigantic 887-foot-long battleship to serving as tour guides and helping with the creation and opening of new exhibits.

“The Battleship Missouri Memorial is dependent on our volunteers to succeed and we are very thankful to every one of them for sharing their time and skills to support the preservation of this treasured icon,” said Keven Williamson, director of volunteers. “Having volunteers with an array of talents that come from all over the world guarantees that the Mighty Mo remains in good hands and is being cared for from top to bottom.”

The USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars – World War II, the Korean War and Desert Storm – after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association. It was berthed permanently at Pearl Harbor, bow-to-bow to the sunken USS Arizona, on June 22, 1998.Battleship Missouri Memorial Volunteer AwardsUSS Missouri Memorial Award: Jeff Eck

Jeff Eck was presented with this award and recognized as the most outstanding volunteer of the year. He is a retired officer of the United States Army who began volunteering aboard the Missouri by assisting with electrical work. He soon migrated to the “Teak Shop” where he learned about carpentry and woodworking. Jeff has grown into a skilled carver who has never turned down a job and always did what was necessary to learn how to accomplish any work request sent his way.USS Missouri Memorial Association Legacy Award: Joshua Matis

This award is presented to an outstanding military person or command showing their commitment to volunteerism. HM3 Joshua Matis received the award for his consistent dedication to the Mighty Mo, as he spent every Sunday this past year completing a multitude of construction and maintenance jobs on and around the ship.Truman Centennial Award: George Mead

George Mead, a retired naval officer, was recognized for being the most outstanding senior volunteer. He serves as a volunteer tour guide in addition to assisting the staff with all sorts of maintenance projects to make sure the ship remains in pristine condition.Big Guns Award: Wayne Ohashi

Wayne Ohashi earned the award that is typically reserved for the Missouri’s most versatile volunteer. Any project that the Missouri team sent his way, Wayne took it on with full force. He helped repair and restore many areas of the ship, and is the Mighty Mo’s resident jack-of-all-trades volunteer.Lifetime Volunteer Awards

These awards are dedicated to people who have given their heart and soul to making the Battleship Missouri Memorial the world-class operation it is today. The Association is proud to recognize three very special longtime volunteers whose personalities and characters have become part of the woodwork aboard the ship.

Emi Ige responded immediately to a call in 1998 seeking volunteers to help turn the retired and mothballed USS Missouri into a memorial shortly after it was towed into Pearl Harbor. She was reminded of her father, who had been a civilian worker in Pearl Harbor just finishing a night shift when Imperial Japan attacked on December 7, 1941. In the nearly 17 years since she answered the call for the Missouri, Emi has assisted with refurbishing projects, leading tour groups, and keeping the tours office organized and ready to accommodate visitors daily.

Edward “Ned” Conklin has been a volunteer with the ship since the beginning, working tirelessly to restore the Mighty Mo to its former glory when she came to rest permanently in Pearl Harbor. He has spent countless hours cleaning, scrubbing, chipping old paint, and laying fresh paint, readying the memorial to open to the public for the first time on January 29, 1999. Ned’s most significant contribution has been to restore the Radio Room to operational condition, which wouldn’t have been possible without his patience and guidance through the years.

Brooks Outland, USN (Ret.) is a decorated war veteran who served in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1973. His first assignment was as a sailor on the USS Missouri, where his battle station was Quad 40. As a former crewmember, Brooks has become a mainstay in the corps volunteers at the ship. He has worked closely over the years with special groups to host programs aboard the Missouri, including Wounded Warriors and the Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Legacy Academy, which consists of six days of CPO history, heritage, community service, and leadership and team building activities as a special part of chief induction.Volunteer Group Awards

Groups of all ages and sizes donate their time and effort to volunteering at the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Several groups were recognized for their unwavering commitment to making a difference.

  • Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC)
  • NIOC Hawaii
  • 715th Military Intelligence Battalion
  • Naval Health Clinic Hawaii
  • Aiea High School Key Club
  • Easter Seals
  • Kiwanis Key Clubs (in memory of Michael Smith)
  • Independent Order of the Odd Fellows

Youth Volunteer Awards

Young deckhands are just as important on the Mighty Mo as the most experienced volunteers. A new generation of volunteers is gaining momentum at the ship, and some of the most outstanding young students were recognized for their passion for history and commitment to service.

  • Outstanding High School Student Volunteer: Breanne Evans, 2014 graduate, James Campbell High School
  • Outstanding Junior Volunteer: Sarah Elizabeth Bronnert, Grade 2, Homeschool

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