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Moriwaki wins national award

Clarence Moriwaki - Brad Camp/ Staff Photo
Clarence Moriwaki
— image credit: Brad Camp/ Staff Photo

Bainbridge resident Clarence Moriwaki has been nationally recognized for his work on the Japanese-American Memorial being built in Eagledale.

The National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy organization for the National Parks System, has honored Moriwaki with their highest designation, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award. The recognition honors conservationists who advocate and fight to protect the National Park System across the country.

Northwest regional director of NPCA, Sean Smith, said Moriwaki was a shoe-in as the organization’s conservationist of the year.

“This award is given to individuals who have done the most to protect national parks and he was hands down our choice,” Smith said. “It’s largely due to his work, and sometimes single-handed efforts, to get the Eagledale ferry terminal added to the National Parks System.”

Moriwaki has been working on the Nidoto Nai Yoni (“Let it not happen again”) Memorial since 2001.

“I was really stunned when I was told the news,” Moriwaki said. “When I got the letter I thought it was a regional award. When I was told it was a national award, I thought they were joking. I had no idea I was even nominated.”

The Bainbridge memorial is a satellite of the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Idaho. The Eagledale ferry site was given National Parks status last year.

Moriwaki, the chairman of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial Committee, expressed his gratitude to the many Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII.

“This award is a recognition of the event we are trying to commemorate and honor,” Moriwaki said. “It’s really humbling and I am working on the speech. I don’t know how long it would take to thank 120,000 people, but remembering, honoring and thanking all those people, that is why I am thrilled.”

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award has been in existence since 1985. Moriwaki is the second Northwest resident to be honored, the first was Polly Dyer in 1989.

Former Washington Gov. Mike Lowry will present Moriwaki with the award during a private reception and ceremony scheduled for Feb. 18 at IslandWood.

– Sean Roach

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