Building On A Legacy Of Compassion
On Christmas Day in 1949, a dozen soldiers from the 27th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the Barracks, deployed in Japan, accompanying a Red Cross field representative to an orphanage in Osaka called Holy Family Home.
The soldiers were touched by the harsh postwar conditions in which the orphans and their nun caregivers subsisted because of a severe lack of funds. On the regiment’s next payday, the soldiers took up a collection and gave the proceeds to the orphanage on New Year’s morning.
The plight of the orphans quickly became common knowledge in the regiment, and for the next six months, the Wolfhounds spent their spare time helping the sisters repair the orphanage. The soldiers came to know the children well and began collecting funds for Holy Family Home on a regular basis.
In 1957, a new tradition began. The Wolfhounds hosted children from the Holy Family Home for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hawai‘i to experience family life through home stays with Wolfhound families, and to experience the aloha of the state.
It’s an annual tradition that continues to this day.
For more than 60 years — one of the longest-running military/civilian relationships in the history of the U.S. Army — the Wolfhounds and other members of our local community have perpetuated this tradition and forged bonds that have changed the lives of both children and soldiers.
Peace Bridge I nc., an all-volunteer organization, was founded in 2007 to carry on the community support for this enduring tradition that has become a model of compassion and international friendship.
Caring community partners such as Japan Airlines, United Japanese Society of Hawai‘i, Bank of Hawai‘i, Museum of Art, Honolulu Zoo, Outrigger Canoe Club, KoAloha ‘ukuleles, Menehune Mac, Polynesian Cultural Center, Hilton Lagoon Activities and others have generously contributed year after year to activities bringing visiting children and their host families together.
Last year, Peace Bridge introduced a scholarship pro- gram to build on the Wolfhound legacy by providing opportunities for children to pursue higher education in Hawai‘i. Thanks to the support of BYU-Hawai‘i, Ribbon Productions and individual contributions, Peace Bridge is hosting its third scholarship recipient this summer. For more information on Peace Bridge and its mission, visit peacebridge.org. Hawaii charitable organizations may send requests for space in either Proof Positive or the free advertisement below to firstname.lastname@example.org
Soldiers and families of the 27th Infantry Regiment gather at the 60th annual Holy Family Home exchange event.