LOS ANGELES, CA. The Japanese American National Museum
presented its Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer Award for 2008 to Richard Murakami at its annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon in the Aratani Central Hall earlier this year.
Murakami, who has been involved in several areas in support of the National Museum, including fundraising, photography and outreach, was presented the highest volunteer honor bestowed by the institution. The award is given each year in the name of Miki Tanimura, an early volunteer and trustee for the Museum, who helped the institution organize in the late 1980s. She and her husband were killed in a plane crash in 1992.
Others receiving recognition included Sande Hashimoto, Administration Award; Caroline Jung, Community Award; Esther Abe, Program Award; the Fred and Toyoko Murakami Family (including John, June and son-in-law Russ Tsuda), Museum Family Spirit Award; and, Ken and JoAnn Hamamura, Meritorious Service Award.
The Museum’s Volunteer Recognition Luncheon is unique in that the awardees do not know they are being recognized until staff members announce their names during the program. The National Museum has hundreds of volunteers who help operationally and for special events, providing thousands of hours of service each year.
"We are so grateful to our volunteers," noted National Museum President and CEO Akemi Kikumura Yano. "They come to the Museum faithfully and help our institution in so many ways. In these tough economic times, they have stepped up to take responsibility. Richard Murakami, our latest Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer honoree, is the perfect example of this spirit."
When the National Museum was incorporated in 1985, it was almost entirely a volunteer organization. It transitioned to a professional staff as it opened to the public in 1992, but has continued to rely on volunteers for many important functions, including as docents and staff support.