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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wolfhounds host Japanese orphans

Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Yuko O'Reilly, wife of the late Sgt. Maj. Hugh O'Reilly, greets children from the Holy Family Home orphanage in Osaka, Japan, who arrived in Hawai'i yesterday for a visit hosted by Schofield Barracks' 27th Infantry Regiment.

KENT NISHIMURA | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Military wives Pam Robbins and Edith Carreras are helping to uphold a 52-year-old tradition of goodwill by serving as host families for children from Holy Family Home, an orphanage in Osaka, Japan, during the children's 10-day stay in Hawai'i.

"He was so excited about the opportunity," Robbins said of her husband, Chris, an Army chaplain who will be back from Iraq in the fall. "We've been looking forward to this all year."

Four children from the orphanage arrived here yesterday, the latest guests of Schofield Barracks' 27th Infantry Regiment, better known as the "Wolfhounds."

The friendship began in post-World War II Japan, where the late Sgt. Maj. Hugh O'Reilly of the Wolfhounds took up a collection in his unit for the orphans. The Wolfhounds adopted the orphanage, sending money and supplies, and in 1957 began hosting the children for Hawai'i vacations.

At Honolulu airport yesterday, the four 10- and 11-year-olds were greeted by a line of public officials, soldiers and their families, as well as people from the community with welcoming lei.

"We just wanted to be able to open a home to them," said Tanya Webb, who will host girls Izumi Takenaka, 11, and Chihiro Aoyama, 10, with her husband, Capt. David Webb, for the next five days. The couple has an 18-month-old daughter, Mikayla.

Each child will stay with two families for five days each. The two boys, Yusuke Katsuma and Toki Yoshimura, and two girls will stay together as they visit their host families.

"That way they have someone to talk to 'Oh, wasn't that cool,' or 'I'm so excited' or 'I'm so nervous,' " said spokeswoman Maura Dolormente.

Kristin Robbins, 12, is excited to invite the two girls into her home because their home language is part of her home-school curriculum.

"I really want to learn how to speak Japanese," she said.

Host families and the children will participate in scheduled activities together at the Polynesian Cultural Center, Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, Dole Plantation and Outrigger Canoe Club.