USS Missouri honors volunteers for dedicated service

Young Kim (right) earned the Truman Centennial Award for being the Missouri's outstanding senior volunteer in 2013. He displays his plaque with Keven Williamson, Director of Volunteers for the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Photo: Courtesy Battleship Missouri Memorial.
Young Kim (right) earned the Truman Centennial Award for being the Missouri's outstanding senior volunteer in 2013. He displays his plaque with Keven Williamson, Director of Volunteers for the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Photo: Courtesy Battleship Missouri Memorial.

The USS Missouri Memorial Association is honoring several volunteers and organizations for their dedicated service to perpetuating the legacy of America’s last battleship.

“We congratulate these awardees and are extremely grateful to all of our volunteers for their tireless motivation in giving back to the Missouri and helping to make it a world-class historical attraction,” said Michael Carr, President & COO of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. “Our volunteers are absolutely essential to the daily upkeep and operation of the Battleship Missouri Memorial and being able to share it with visitors. They bring to us a diverse array of expertise and help ensure that this legendary battleship is being supported and cared for from top to bottom.”

In 2013, Missouri volunteers donated a total of 43,622 hours worth of service, equaling 7,238 days and valued at nearly $800,000 in in-kind support. Volunteer work ranges from ship maintenance to serving as tour guides and helping with the opening of new exhibits.

An engraved, polished plaque was presented to each awardee recognizing their dedication and service. The plaques carry special significance as they were made from pieces of the Missouri’s famed teak wood decks that were removed as part of its ongoing maintenance with some of the teak dating back to the 1990s, when the battleship was last in service.

Battleship Missouri Memorial Volunteer Awards

USS Missouri Memorial Award – Trevor Bellas
Trevor Bellas was honored for being the most outstanding volunteer of the year. Trevor put in more than 500 hours of service in 2013, spending time every weekend to work on projects from shipboard to pier side. No task was too big, too small, or too dirty for Trevor to handle.

Truman Centennial Award – Young Kim
Young Kim was recognized for being the most outstanding senior volunteer. Young spent his Saturdays volunteering as a tour guide and providing meaningful lectures for private programs on the ship, including its Road Scholar program (education travel). Retired from the U.S. Air Force, Young’s volunteerism and dedication is described as ‘legendary’ by those who work with him.

Big Guns Award – Larry Elrich
Larry Elrich earned the award that is typically given to the Missouri’s most versatile volunteer. Any project that the Missouri team sent his way, Larry took it on with full force. He helped repair and restore many areas of the ship, and is currently working alongside the Collections Department on a number of special projects.

USS Missouri Memorial Association Legacy Award – NAVFAC
This award is presented to an outstanding military person or command showing their commitment to volunteerism. Volunteers from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii (NAVFAC) provided much-needed technical facilities and engineering support to the maintenance of the Missouri.

Outstanding Group Support Award – Waipahu High School
A group of students from Waipahu High School consistently took the bus to and from school to help the Missouri staff with repair and maintenance work. The students spent a great deal of time over many weeks polishing the brass and cleaning the wardroom and mess decks in appreciation and respect for the Mighty Mo.

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

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Every Wednesday, a group of up to 20 enthusiastic volunteers put in many hours of hard work, painting, chipping rust, cleaning and scrubbing, and lifting heavy materials to help the ship’s staff. This group alone accounted for more than 2,000 hours of volunteer work in 2013.

Kiwanis Key Clubs
Leilehua High School’s Key Club was honored as students showed their commitment to the Mighty Mo by polishing brass and sweeping, swabbing, and cleaning the teak deck. Recognized were Key Club advisors Kay Tokunaga and Roy Fujinaka, who have been bringing students to the ship each month for many years.

NIOC Hawaii
The Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii (NIOC) sends at least two-to-three groups each month to volunteer aboard the Missouri. As one of the largest commands in Hawaii, NIOC is dedicated to preserving the USS Missouri, pitching in to help where bver they are needed. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facilities This group takes care of the Missouri as if it were their own ship. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facilities is Hawaii’s regional maintenance center for the U.S. Navy. It sends groups to clean, paint and repair the Mighty Mo, ensuring it is always shipshape.

Naval Health Clinic Hawaii
Volunteers from Naval Health Clinic Hawaii, which serves active duty personnel and their families in addition to retirees, tend to the several medical spaces onboard the ship to ensure they are up to Navy standards.

Chief’s Legacy Academy
The Chief’s Legacy Academy brings together, as a right of passage, sailors who have reached the rank of “Chief.” Sailors spend a week aboard the Missouri and learn from contemporaries on the finer points of leadership. In return, newly inducted Chiefs lend a helping hand by pulling up old teak, scrubbing the deck, and aiding in much needed heavy lifting around the ship.

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