Scholarship recipients Jingwen Yuan, Mckinzey Willis and Jesse Kempkes with Hiroshi Miyamura.
Scholarship recipients Jingwen Yuan, Mckinzey Willis and Jesse Kempkes with Hiroshi Miyamura.

GALLUP, N.M. — Korean War Medal of Honor recipient Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura gave scholarships in his name on May 14 as part of the fourth annual Senior Recognition Night at Hiroshi Miyamura High School in Gallup, N.M.

The scholarship recipients were Jingwen Yuan, Mckinzey Willis and Jesse Kempkes. All three seniors were on the Honor Roll with grade point averages of 3.5 and above, and all three will attend the University of New Mexico Albuquerque.

Yuan came to the U.S. two years ago from Chengdu City, China and plans to study international accounting.

Willis was one of the top ten seniors in the class and received a certificate of merit from the National Honor Society. She was on the swim team and played softball. Willis will study biology with plans to become a physical therapist.

Kempkes, also among the top ten seniors, was active on the Class Council. She will major in biology in preparation for medical school.

In addition to college preparatory classes, the Miyamura High School curriculum includes vocational education such as culinary arts, construction, carpentry, plumbing, automotive shop and welding. Other classes are sports medicine, journalism and digital media. Extra-curricular activities include the school athletic teams, band, jazz band, literary magazine and Key Club, whose members perform community service and fundraising for charities.

In October 2013, Gallup was named “America’s Most Patriotic Small Town” by Rand McNally’s “Best of the Road” contest. Gallup retains that special small-town feel, like Gardena in the 1950s. The centerpiece of the city is the veterans’ monument located in downtown next to the McKinley County Courthouse.

The monument consists of a series of pillars dedicated in 2006 listing those who served from the county during all of America’s wars. Special pillars honor Miyamura, the Navajo code talkers and members of the New Mexico 200th Coast Artillery Regiment captured in Bataan at the start of the Pacific War. Also displayed around the monument square are two-by-four-foot individual photo banners sponsored by local merchants and family members in honor of their veterans.

Miyamura received the Medal of Honor while serving with H Company, Seventh Infantry Regiment, Third Infantry Division. He was awarded the medal in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower and since then has been representing the Japanese American community to the greater American public.

Expressions of gratitude to him can be made by contributing to the Hershey Miyamura Scholarship Fund and mailed in care of Miyamura High School, 680 S. Boardman, Gallup, NM 87301.

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