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Serving Heart Awards are bestowed on four individuals

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Contact:
Karin Mackenzie, (808) 956-4051
Director, Arts and Sciences Community and Alumni Relations
Laarni Gedo, (808) 956-5790
Public Information Officer, Arts and Sciences Community and Alumni Relations
Posted: Jul 19, 2012

Yoshiaki Fujitani
Yoshiaki Fujitani
Nora Harmsen
Nora Harmsen
Shimeji Kanazawa
Shimeji Kanazawa
Calvin Sia
Calvin Sia
The office of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences has recognized four Serving Heart Award honorees. 
 
The Serving Heart Award was established by “Universal Values for a Democratic Society”Nisei Veterans Endowed Forum Series. The award honors those who have provided extraordinary service to individuals and the community, and service that is marked by honesty, humility, respect, compassion, fairness and integrity. Through such service, the recipients inspire others to live meaningful and more fulfilling lives. 
 
The honorees are:
 
Yoshiaki Fujitani
Yoshiaki Fujitani was a sophomore at the University of Hawaii enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1941. On December 7 of that year, he was one of many cadets given rifles and mustered into the Hawaii Territorial Guard (HTG) when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. HTG, comprised mostly of Japanese men, was the only ROTC unit in the country to see any military action. A month after the attack, authorities from Washington, D.C., ordered HTG to disband. The men would regroup and form the labor battalion 34th Construction Engineer Regiment, more popularly known as the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV).
 
A few months later, Fujitani’s father was interned as “potentially dangerous.”  Fujitani left the VVV and worked to help provide for his family. In 1943, a military intelligence instructor from Camp Savage, Minnesota, came to Hawaii to recruit, and Fujitani volunteered. He was assigned to Fort Ritchie, Maryland, then to the Pacific Military Intelligence Research Section.
 
 
Fujitani found himself in Tokyo as a translator when the war ended. Using the GI Bill, he attended the University of Chicago to study Buddhism.  Eventually, he was assigned to the Honpa Hongwanji.  Through the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, Fujitani founded Living Treasures of Hawaii, a program that recognizes and honors people who have made significant contributions toward a more humane and fraternal society. Through his efforts, Living Treasures rooted and blossomed. Fujitani, who was elected as Hawaii’s second Nisei bishop in 1975, became a Living Treasure himself. He retired as bishop in 1992 and has been active in numerous volunteer capacities.
 
Nora Harmsen
Nora Harmsen began providing volunteer dental services in South Bend, Indiana. In 1997, she made Hawaii her home. She volunteered at Kalihi-Pālama Health Center, where she worked from 2004-11. Concurrently, Harmsen was the principal volunteer in maintaining programs for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  Harmsen also helped make the renowned FCA Breakfast, where young athletes learned life lessons from professional athletes, a tradition at the Pro Bowl and the Hula Bowl. She continues her volunteer work with FCA at both local and national levels.
 
Harmsen, a regent with the International College of Dentists, a peer-selected professional organization, also led a nationwide humanitarian project through Fisher House. Knowing that Fisher Houses were located adjacent to military hospitals for visiting families to be near their loved ones in serious and in extremis situations, Harmsen developed and implemented a plan for local dentists to provide emergency dental care to Fisher House residents free of charge. This program commenced on February 3, 2012, at the Tripler Fisher House and are found at all 54 Fisher Houses nationwide.
 
In 2005, Harmsen went on the first of many two-week dental missions to the impoverished Kwajalein Atoll and its surrounding islets in the Marshall Islands. Over the years, these missions have delivered dental services valued at nearly $700,000.  In addition to her unyielding volunteer work, Harmsen is the only dentist for the 2,500 residents on the island of Lāna‘i.
 
Shimeji Kanazawa
During World War II, Shimeji Kanazawa served as liaison between the Japanese civilian population and the U.S. military when she was hired as an assistant to the Swedish Consul General. Through the Geneva Convention, the consul general was in charge of the internment camps in Hawai‘i, and Kanazawa inspected the living conditions of Japanese POWs and internees.   She also accompanied Japanese families on their trans-Pacific sail to camps on the mainland. For her invaluable service provided during the war, Kanazawa has been called the “Florence Nightingale of Hawaii.”
 
In the late 1950s, Kanazawa began her life's work as an advocate for youth and for the aged. She served on numerous boards and commissions.  She was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Aging by Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Hawaii for her distinguished accomplishments. 
 
Kanazawa was instrumental in founding Project Dana, a Buddhist-based elder-care program sponsored by the Moiliili Hongwanji Mission that provides assistance to the elderly and respite to caregivers.   Project Dana's success as an interfaith volunteer caregiver program impacts lives everyday in profound and compassionate ways. Today, even in her nineties, Kanazawa continues to selflessly help others.
 
Calvin Sia
Calvin C.J. Sia had been in full-time primary care pediatric practice in Honolulu from 1958-96, when he retired to devote his time as principal investigator on various grants promoting integrated services in early childhood. He was also a professor of pediatrics in the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
 
Sia has been a tireless child advocate. He initiated Hawaii Healthy Start, a home visiting program to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to support positive child development. He was instrumental in implementing the Medical Home concept nationally. In the 1960s, Medical Home was envisioned as a central source for medical information about children, especially those with special needs.  Sia also helped establish Emergency Medical Services for Children, an initiative designed to reduce child and youth disability and due due to severe illness or injury.
 
Sia has received many awards for his extensive volunteer leadership, including an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Hawaii. 
 
The Nisei Veterans Endowed Forum Series is a privately endowed program of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Its mission is to foster thoughtful discussions on values and their role in enhancing a democratic society by examining values from all perspectives and from people of all walks of life.