Ken Tanabe was recently presented with a special Gold Medal by the Honorable Wally Herger, Congressman from this district.
Tanabe was born and raised in the Gridley area. As a teen, he was relocated, along with his family, to a Japanese relocation area in Colorado, at the start of World War II, because our government was afraid these people might signal Japanese submarines and help them attack us.
After spending a year in the relocation camp, Tanabe joined the US Army and was assigned to the 442 Army Division, an all Japanese division, fighting in Europe. This division was the most highly decorated unit during WWII. They were known to have captured more enemies than any other unit, previous to, during, or since WWII.
A special Gold Medal was struck to Honor this Division and finally, 77 years after their acts of heroism, each surviving member was awarded a copy of this Medal. The original solid Gold Medal is currently on tour across the United States and will be displayed at the De Young Museum in San Francisco during July 2013.
The Gridley Lions Club, of which Tanabe is a member, awarded him with a Melvin Jones Fellowship for his outstanding service to his Country, Community and Lions Club, at their annual Thanks Giving Dinner. Tanabe’s daughter, Candice, his son, Lion Dwayne and Dwayne’s wife Janine were present for the presentation. The Melvin Jones Fellowship is awarded for a $1,000 donation to Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) in the honorees name. LCIF is the humanitarian arm of Lions International, funding disaster relief, Habitat for Humanity, Quest program in schools, building of eye hospitals, programs to eradicate river blindness, measles, and almost any other humanitarian effort one can imagine. 100% of all donations to LCIF are used for these purposes. Not one cent is used for administrative purposes.