HONOLULU, HAWAII (July 12, 2011) –PacRim Marketing Group and PRTech president and CEO, Dave Erdman, was one of three members of Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise who personally delivered $29,500 to Japan. The group traveled to Japan to give the donations to help with relief efforts for Fukushima area students in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, and for families with children displaced from Fukushima to Niigata Prefecture.
Soma City is a coastal fishing and farming village in a part of Japan that was hit hardest by the March 11 tsunami, and is near the nuclear reactor.
The funds raised in Hawaii by the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise members were targeted to assist and support students and families in the Fukushima area. The members worked with a sister club in Niigata, the Niigata Bandai Rotary Club, to donate the first $5000 to provide displaced families with household and personal items. The members also collaborated with the Fukushima Rotary District, which assisted with identifying needs in Soma City, where there is a local Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Soma City. The club was one of 64 in the Fukushima area, which not only had major devastation and loss from the tsunami, but also has continuing issues with radiation fears, as it is just over 25 miles from the Fukushima Dai Ichi nuclear plant.
Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise member and past president Dave Erdman, Past President Allen Kamemoto, and member Masa Edamura traveled to Soma City last month and presented $24,500 to the mayor of Soma City and the Soma City Rotary Club. The donation has been specifically designated to help fund initiatives in support of the children of Isobe Elementary School in Soba City. The school is on a hilltop overlooking the coast, and stands in good condition. Below, many of the homes and businesses of Soma City are in ruins.
“We chose to donate to this school because nearly a third of the students lost family members and homes when the earthquake and tsunami struck,” said Erdman. “Relief efforts here are important, as foreign volunteers tend to not come to this area as it is located so near the nuclear plant.”
Funds will be used to provide activities and special needs, including psychological counseling for the children. In addition to presenting the mayor with donations, Erdman, Kamemoto, and Edamura met with selected students and the entire 6th grade and delivered "Tomadachi" or "Hawaii friends" T-shirts, Hawaii Macadamia nuts chocolates and cookies from Hawaii.
As part of the “Aloha Smiles” mission, meant to bring smiles to the children’s faces, the Honolulu Rotarians also taught simple English lessons and played American and Japanese games with the students. As part of the encounter, they shared the meaning of “Aloha,” and how it can help with the healing process by focusing on sharing life energy with others when saying the word.
As part of the mission, Erdman addressed 64 incoming Rotary Club presidents and president-elects in Japanese at a conference and training session in Japan. He discussed why Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise went to Japan and collaborated to support an initiative for school children in Soma City and the close ties between Fukushima and Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii.