4-5-11: Marylanders in Japan

April 5, 2011 at 8:07 am 12 comments

Mark McCormack of the UK, Joey Keefer of Hagerstown, Maryland, Michael Moynihan, of Ireland, and Rory Banwell, of New Zealand, stand before the truck they're using to bring aid to evacuation centers in Japan. Photo courtesey of Joey Keefer.

Over the past three weeks, we’ve been hearing lots of news out of Japan about the earthquake, tsunami, and the subsequent recovery efforts.

This morning, we wanted to take a moment to connect with Marylanders who are working to aid in that recovery, on both the civilian and military sides.  One of the civilians is Joey Keefer.  He’s originally from Hagerstown, Maryland, and is now working as an English teacher in Japan at a school he started called the Maryland English School, which he named for his home state.  He lives there now with his wife and son.

Joey Keefer joined up with several other ex-patriates who wanted to help in the recovery effort.  They rented a truck and started driving supplies to the coast, about 150 miles from where they live.  You can learn more about their effort at their website, truckaidjapan.com.

We also speak with Petty Officer Gregory Allison– he’s an active duty sailor on the navy base in Misawa, Japan, who hails from Glen Burnie, Maryland. He’s been working with the U. S. military, the French military, and the Red Cross, loading search and rescue helicopters and helping people evacuate from the north.  He also walked along the beach to salvage items that had been washed away in the tsunami.

And we want to hear from you:  are you helping in the recovery effort in some way, or do you know someone who is?  It can be work like Joey and Greg have been doing – or it can be work that’s being done closer to home.  Let us know by text or voicemail to  410-881-3162, send an email to mdmorning@wypr-dot-org, or leave a comment.

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julie  |  April 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Greg, we are really proud of you and the contribution you and the military are making towards the endless recovery effort in Japan. Keep up the good work and keep safe!
    Mum and Dad

    Reply
  • 2. Terry Tutor  |  April 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    You and everyone there are in our prayers and you make this Air Force vet extremely proud. Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  • 3. Terry Stevens  |  April 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Greg

    You are all doing a fantastic job out there, Stay safe and take care.

    Diana and Terry Stevens

    Reply
  • 4. Jo.  |  April 7, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Awesome work to ALL. Happy you are safe!

    Reply
  • 5. Karen  |  April 9, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Message to Michael Moynihan and his colleagues! Well done fantastic work you are doing.
    Heard you on Corks 96fm the other morning. I was in Ashton same time as you. My friend was Patricia Fitzgerald who was a big fan of yours!!
    Jayne Grey is organising a class reunion in June, its 30 years.
    So if you are back in Cork. How’s your brother Terry?
    Keep up the fantastic work and let us know how we can send donations

    Reply
    • 6. Michael J Moynihan  |  October 6, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Hi Karen, I was just doing a search of myself for a family tree and this came up so I am only reading it for the first time now. Obviously you have caught me quite off guard:) What is your family name? It is quite a long time since I heard the name “Patricia Fitz and Jane Gray. I often wonder about all the crowd from Ashton. Most are not on any of the major social sites so it is hard to contact any of them.
      My brother Terry is living in Belgooly next door to Donald Elliffe. Do you remember him? contact me asap. I’d love to catch up.

      Reply
  • 7. Pedro  |  August 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Those truck guys made a bid for fame and self-publicity on the aftermath of a tsunami which took the lives of thousands of Japanese souls. Everyone else donated to official disaster relief organisations without any fanfare. They’re the folk you should be praising.

    So whats wrong with these truck guys? They’re nothing but attention seekers. They should be thrown in the pen.

    Reply
    • 8. Michael J Moynihan  |  October 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

      The reason that we set up this relief aid was because money being donated to those official disaster relief organizations was and is still being held up by red tape and most of the money collected is not used for relief aid but for bureaucratic big wigs out on expensive junkets and meetings that amount to nothing. All money collected by us was used for food relief aid which was badly needed at the time. Go to our web site and see for yourself. I have previously worked for big relief organizations based in the Middle East after the Gulf war and I was shocked to see what the money collected was used for.
      I can understand your skepticism but honestly Pedro, there was no other reason we did it except to help people who were in need of help in a time of difficulty.
      Michael Moynihan.

      Reply
      • 9. Michael J Moynihan  |  October 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

        Karen Hegarty??? From monkstown??

  • 10. The Unknown Volunteers  |  November 18, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I’ve donated more than those truck guys. I volunteer regularly. I’ve never come across any of those guys or their names during my stints.

    I don’t splash my efforts all over a webpage in a bid for fame.
    I don’t use the great disaster for self-promotion.
    I don’t use the deaths of thousands of Japanese for self-glorification.
    Our group works anonymously and with dignity.

    Most folk in Japan donate with quiet dignity. The heroes don’t seek gratification for their efforts in times of great disaster. These truck guys need to take a close look at their consciences?

    Our group is called “The Unknown Volunteers”. We stand for helping the Japanese get the apologies that they deserve.

    This is in return for the dignity and respect that the Japanese give to foreigners living in Japan, without expecting anything in return. Our aim is to get guys like these to apologise to Japan. Please help.

    The Japanese have given foreigners jobs, an income, in some cases spouses and children. The Japanese have welcomed them into to their homes and their family lives. The Japanese treat foreigners very well.

    Yet there are those who go to Japan and see the Japanese kindness as a weakness to be taken advantage of.

    The Japanese would never complain to these guys. It’s not in their nature to stir things up. But never take the Japanese for fools. They know about the likes of these guys but they don’t like to make trouble.

    Please help us pressurise these truck guys, and the many others who have set up similar kinds of webpages, in a bid for glory, to apologise to Japan.

    You will be doing a service to the Japanese who have suffered so much this year. Their suffering continues with radiation in the soil. Thousands are still homeless and living in shelters.

    The Japanese don’t deserve foreigners coming into their country and taking advantage of the deaths and disaster that befell the country.

    If you’d like to donate then please donate to your local UNICEF. It would be very welcomed.

    But please don’t set up a webpage saying that you have donated to UNICEF! We don’t want to start chasing you too! You might laugh but some of the ex-pats over in Japan, well … And just about all of them have a problem with the word ‘sorry’. We know.

    Our team trawls the internet asking these kinds of guys to apologise. If you are acquainted with any of the truck guys then please urge them to do the decent thing.

    In the interests of dignity our group remains anonymous. But, rest assured, we are out there trying to get the Japanese the apologies, the respect, and the dignity that they deserve. We are just looking for that little word, ‘sorry’.

    It would be great if the truck guys were courageous enough to splash the word ‘sorry’ all over their webpage, and to return the money that they collected, and to quietly donate to an official organisation, like the vast majority of ex-pays and Japanese have done. It’s not asking much.

    Thank you for your time and for any future efforts that you might make to help with this worthy cause.

    From ‘The Unknown Volunteers’

    Reply
  • 11. Oxy Moron  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:41 am

    “Unknown Volunteers” , “anonymous”, “I don’t splash my efforts all over a webpage” – and yet here you are on a webpage which has nothing to do with you, and you are “splashing your efforts all over a webpage”, and NOT being very “anonymous” or “unknown”. Hmmmm??????

    Reply
  • 12. Elle  |  February 18, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Gold bars have been anonymously donated to the tsunami hit disaster areas in Japan, most likely a result of the generosity of Japanese citizens.

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/130216/mystery-benefactor-gives-gold-bars-japanese-tsunami-

    The dignity of the suffering Japanese puts Utsusnomiya, Donal Rory Banwell, Michael J Moynihan, Joey Keefer, Mark McCormack, to shame.

    Thousands of Japanese are dead. These English teachers make a website. Thousands of Japanese are dead. They fill their website with comments of self-praise. Thousands of Japanese are dead. They take to parading themselves.

    If these English teachers aren’t deeply ashamed of themselves, and have no intention of saying sorry, what does that say about them?

    All praise to the great munificence and dignity of the Japanese in times of extreme adversity!!! Truckers look and learn!

    Reply

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