It was an honor to hear my name called out as first place winner in magazine writing, serious feature category at the 2009 Idaho Press Club Awards. One reason I was so pleased was because I received the award for my story, “Memories of Minidoka – Revisiting Idaho’s Japanese Interment Camp,” which I had written for Sun Valley Magazine (you can read it online at www.sunvalleymag.com/Sun-Valley-Magazine/Winter-2010/Memories-of-Minidoka/). For me, writing that story was an amazing experience. I spent a whole weekend with many of the Japanese-Americans who had been interned at the Minidoka Camp during WWI. Many of them were in their 70s and 80s. Together we went on a pilgrimage back to the historical site of the former camp, where they recalled memories of living behind barbed wire and guards with machine guns, how they were forced to live in near squalor, how their families lost everything they owned, and how they had long ago forgiven those who had wrongly imprisoned them. The pilgrimage is organized every summer by the Friends of Minidoka (www.minidoka.org). It was a moving, emotional and important experience and for anyone interested in this part of history, I would encourage you to be a part of this summer’s pilgrimage, June 25-27.
This was the seventh Idaho Press Club Award I have won over the past few years. All of them mean a lot, as they acknowledge the quality of my work. But for me, seeing the story of Minidoka recognized was very special.