Pictured: Photo of Felicismo A. Hugo of Wahiawa, Hawaii, who fell in 1967. The photo became the final one submitted for the state of Hawaii.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is pleased to announce that Hawaii has become the eighth state to find the photos for their state's fallen.
With the addition of SFC Felicisimo Hugo of Wahiawa, every one of the 277 fallen service members from Hawaii has a photo. The photo of Felicisimo was submitted by VVMF volunteer Janna Hoehn and Dan P. Brodt.
Photos are collected as part of VVMF's Faces Never Forgotten campaign, an effort to put a picture to every name inscribed on The Wall in Washington, D.C. VVMF has collected more than 45,000 photos to date.
Hawaii now joins: Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in this incredible feat.
There was a lot of help and hard work that went into Hawaii’s success.
Billie Gabriel, Gold Star sister of the first Hawaii casualty of the Vietnam conflict, James Gabriel Jr., has been involved in the effort since 2011.
“This has been a humbling experience,” she said. “I would like to thank, in particular, Janna Hoehn from the island of Maui. She has worked alongside me from the very beginning in making sure that our island heroes are not forgotten."
Dan Brodt found the last photo for Felicisimo Hugo through the Philippine Embassy, that can now be seen on his Virtual Wall of Faces page.
“It’s been a joyful, and sometimes tearful journey with many of these families. I’ve talked to sisters, mothers, sons, nieces, uncles and classmates, and each is proud to share a special memory about their loved one. An unspoken bond among all these families has emerged as a result of this project,” Billie recalls.
A lot of deserving thanks go to local media including: the Honolulu Star Advertiser, MidWeek, KHON2 anchorman and veteran, Joe Moore, Hawaii News Now, KITV4, Maui News, as well as POW survivor, Jerry Coffee.
Lastly, Gabriel wants to give a special “Mahalo” to General Colin Powell for personally cutting a PSA for Hawaii’s photo collection effort.
This truly could not have been done without an army of volunteers. VVMF is ecstatic of Hawaii's most recent accomplishment, and hopes it will serve as inspiration for more states to do the same.