Yuko O’Reilly was presented the Foreign Minister’s commendation in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Feb. 11 presentation was made by Consul General Yasushi Misawa at the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu.
Mrs. O’Reilly was recognized for her outstanding contributions to promoting mutual understanding between Japan and Hawai‘i at the grassroots level.
Yuko O’Reilly’s late husband, Sgt. Maj. Hugh O’Reilly, and the U.S. Army’s 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” forged a special relationship with orphans of the Holy Family Home in 1949 while the regiment was stationed on Ösaka. They donated funds to the orphanage and helped with repairs and rebuilding. The unit continued to send donations of money, gifts and other items even after returning to the United States. To this day, two Wolfhounds fly to Ösaka every Christmas, where they dress as Santa Claus and give gifts to the children. And, each summer since 1957, two children from the Holy Family Home spend a couple of weeks in Hawai‘i, homestaying with the Wolfhounds and their families and enjoying a Hawai‘i experience.
Mrs. O’Reilly continued to be involved in the program her husband started even after his passing in 2006.