January 30 was a momentous day for my husband and me ...
We met Tad Nagaki in person and we both thanked him for rescuing me on August 17th, 1945.
He had kindly arranged for us to meet him at Alliance Tractor in Alliance, Nebraska.
We called him on our cell phone an hour before our arrival to make sure that all was on schedule.
We took him to eat at the Chinese restaurant he selected. The quieter area of the restaurant was taken so where we ate, we had difficulty hearing each other.
After our meal we returned to the Alliance Tractor business where we had a table and chairs to ourselves in a quiet area, what a treasured time.
He is very alert and his memory is fantastic. I asked him if I could give him a hug in appreciation for delivering me. He said, - Yes - as that is the only way he gets hugs. He was smiling broadly.
He is lonely and seems to dread going home where he is reminded of his wife who died 10 years ago. His three children died years ago and his only 3 grandchildren live in Colorado.
I had photo copied a page from my old autograph book which had Tad’s autograph in it. I had him sign a current autograph on that page.
I also gave him photocopies of the pages I had the six autographs of our heroes on. I showed him the photocopy of the letter with the Duck Team’s names on the bottom in which they were thanking the camp for our cooperation...
He quickly pointed out that the name of Willis S Georgia – Captain – US Army didn’t belong there, as he was not part of the Duck Team.
I think the Alliance Tractor business is his favourite place to be at while away from his house. The people there were very kind. The secretary was most helpful. I had corresponded with her by e-mail and she in turn contacted Tad for me as I had had problems understanding Tad on the phone due to my hearing problem and depending on the connection we were having on the cell phone.
Sadly, due to our travelling and not being on internet regularly — I read her letter too late telling of a change in her schedule for January 30th saying she wouldn’t be there in the office after 11 a.m. and we got there at 11:30—whereas we could have arrived earlier.
They remembered the article Mary Previte had written about Tad Nagaki Tad was walking without the aid of a cane and didn’t complain of any pain.
We hated to leave him but we had to be on our way. We were driving from our home in British Columbia, Canada to South Carolina. We were very glad we went out of our way to meet Tad who is such a gentle man.
I would certainly recommend a visit with him if you have the opportunity.
He appreciates phone calls. His cell phone # is 308-760-2899.
It is easier to reach him this way and also better for him. When he is home he doesn’t have to get up out of his chair to answer the phone.
As we were leaving, Tad said he would have to call Mary Taylor Previte to tell her about the visit.
I truly believe it was a bright spot in his day.
It certainly was a bright spot in our day.
All thanks to Mary Previte for opening up the way for us to correspond with our heroes — which I have done — and now to actually meet our last living hero, what precious memories.
I had called James Hannon not long before he died but he didn’t connect with me about Weihsien. Instead he would switch to his experience as a German prisoner of war.