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Lifetime of Savings Leads to Lasting Legacy

Lifetime of Savings Leads to Lasting Legacy
When Ben Kitagawa, 442nd RCT (Company L) veteran passed away in December 2010, his lifetime of hard work and careful spending allowed him to leave a lasting legacy through generous gifts to his church and nonprofit organizations that were near to his heart.

We were one of the organizations touched by Ben's foresight and generosity, as we received a gift of $18,000.

Born in Mills, California, Ben had two older sisters, and was the fourth of five sons. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the Kitagawa family was interned at the Rohwer (Arkansas) Relocation Center. It was from this barbed wire imprisonment that Ben volunteered to serve with the 442nd.

After the war, Ben stayed on with the Army, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant. After his retirement from the Army, he worked for 15 years for the United States Postal Service, delivering mail on foot or 3-wheeled motorcycle in the Wilshire District of Los Angeles.

In his later years, Ben volunteered at the Japanese American National Museum, stationing himself near the 442nd display where he would answer questions from visitors - young and old - about the challenges and achievements of the famed fighting unit.

"My uncle was very proud of the accomplishments of the 442nd and of the contribution of his Company L to the defeat of the Germans in the Gothic Line," noted nephew Russell Kitagawa. "He lived modestly and always told his nieces and nephews how important it was to save. When he passed away, his will bequeathed gifts to people closest to him and to organizations that were doing work that was important to him."

"It is because of people like Ben Kitagawa that we are able to carry on the critical work of expanding awareness about - and appreciation for - the Japanese American units of World War II," noted Don Nose, GFBNEC President.

"Ben Kitagawa's legacy will live on in every student who is made aware of our veterans and is guided by their values of humility, family honor, and duty to country." For More Information on how to include a bequest in your will, click Here to review sample bequest language.


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