Power of the Press Helps Bring Recognition to Big Island Hero

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University of Hawaii-Hilo graduate Steve Sakoda volunteered for active combat duty after witnessing on September 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks on American soil.

He was deployed to Iraq as a Sergeant in the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in the United States Army. His wife, other family members and friends were devastated when they learned Sakoda was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb.


Wanting to help honor Sakoda for his sacrifice, his classmates nominated him as a candidate for the Distinguished Alumni from the University of Hawaii.

They were surprised, shocked and saddened when the selection committee instead chose to honor Mr. Russell Okata, Executive Director of the HGEA, Mr. Maurice Kaya, the Chief Technology Officer from DBEDT and Mr. Yukio Takeya, the owner of Ala Kai Realty.

Christian Wong, a friend of Sakoda, turned to ”’Hawaii Reporter”’ readers for help, asking them to write letters of support to the UHH Alumni and Friends Association at: mailto:alumni@hawaii.edu and to tell them that Sakoda should also be honored as a Distinguished Alumni.

Wong reports that ”’Hawaii Reporter”’ readers worked magic.

While Sakoda won