On Wednesday, May 14th, the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth hosted the 2014 Sun & Star Legacy Award Dinner. The Honorable Michael S. Rawlings, Mayor of the City of Dallas, served as the Honorable Host for the evening. The Honorable John V. Roos, United States Ambassador to Japan (2009-2013) and front runner of American support and assistance to Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake, was named the recipient of the 2014 Sun & Star Award. Mr. Timothy Jones, a retired educator from the Callisburg Independent School district who formed the relationship with the Kesenuma High School and led a grassroots relief effort to support Kesenuma after the earthquake, was presented with the Bridges-to-Friendship Award. Past recipients The Honorable J. Thomas Schieffer, United States Ambassador to Japan (2005-2009) and Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (9/2009-1/2012) both attended the awards dinner. In comparison to the previous year the attendance increased 20%, totaling around 400 attendees.
Mayor Rawlings was able to stay longer than expected and was praised in Consul-General Takaoka’s toast for his leadership to create an atmosphere in Dallas that is a comfortable and attractive home to Japanese residents and businesses. Consul-General offered the recent announcement of the Toyota headquarters relocation to Plano as a reflection of Japan’s belief in the future of cities like Dallas.
In his award acceptance speech Ambassador Roos spoke of Operation Tomodachi and the strengthened relationship between Japan and the U.S. following that cooperation. He also spoke of his first opportunity as Ambassador of Japan to attend a ceremony commemorating the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the immeasurable importance of exchange at the grass roots level and the value of cultivating compassion and empathy for others.