Family remembers Gallup native, Medal of Honor recipient Hiroshi Miyamura
GALLUP, N.M. – Marisa Regan and her family are mourning the loss of a beloved family member, her grandfather Hiroshi Miyamura.
She shared with us some of her last moments with him.
“He was recalling a memory when he and I jumped out of an airplane together. It was at Ft. Bragg, and we did it with some former Golden Knights,” she said.
He passed away Tuesday at the age of 97.
Almost a century of life lived and memories made. For Marisa, he was family, but to the world he’s a war hero serving in World War II and then earning the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Korean War.
He was a lone soldier fighting to protect his own.
“It’s a selfless act, or, you know, a multiple acts that someone does, on behalf of their fellow soldiers, and on behalf of the country, and it’s just amazing to see somebody like he was, he was humble about the whole thing,” said local veteran and former vice principle of Miyamura High School, Don Mitchell, about receiving the Medal of Honor.
“Hershey” as he’s affectionately known became a prisoner of war for over two years before returning to his beloved hometown Gallup, New Mexico.
Now his namesake, a high school named after him, continues his legacy.
Jessica Rodriguez is the principal at Miyamura High School now, and reflects on the news of his passing.
“I think we’re all kind of in that same boat of just a little shocked and sad,” she said.
She said he was close with the students there, and the students love to honor his name.
“We are blessed to be able to carry on his legacy. So everything we do every student that graduates from here, everything that goes here, we get to say that, although we call yourself patriots, right, and it’s plural, because we’re a school of Patriots, we represent one patriot in particular,” she said.
He was a patriot who was always willing to share his story with the kids of Gallup.
Clara DeArmond reflects on when he came to speak to her fifth grade class at Jefferson Elementary.
“He was concerned that he would not be able to hold their attention. Little did he know that they didn’t even blink while he was speaking. That’s how he grabbed their attention with what he was saying to them,” she said.
He was a man that captivated a city with his humble demeanor and kind spirit; a proud son of Gallup.
“Far more than just a war hero. No, that in itself is huge. But the person he was in this community is also huge,” Clara said about the man who never thought himself a hero.