School children honor Pearl Harbor survivor with Heart of a Hero award

The Young Patriot's Club of Navy Hale Keiki School (NHKS) presents the second annual "Heart of a Hero" award to Pearl Harbor survivor and WWII veteran retired Senior Chief Quartermaster Michael Ganitch.

The Young Patriot’s Club of Navy Hale Keiki School (NHKS) presents the second annual “Heart of a Hero” award to Pearl Harbor survivor and WWII veteran retired Senior Chief Quartermaster Michael Ganitch.

Story and photo by MC2 Nardel Gervacio

Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

The Young Patriot’s Club of Navy Hale Keiki School (NHKS) presented the “Heart of a Hero” award to a retired Navy chief during an awards ceremony April 26. NHKS students in first through fourth grades from the Young Patriot’s Club designed and generated the idea of the Heart of a Hero award to honor local military heroes.

The event started with the arrival of the honored guest, the playing of the National Anthem and a flag presentation. Students took turns reading a bio of Chief Quartermaster Michael Ganitch and his accomplishments.

The students introduced Ganitch, who talked about growing up as a child, his enlistment in the Navy, and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Ganitch was chosen based on his military service and heroic attributes such as bravery, honesty and selfless contributions to the community.

“They voted for him because his energy is contagious and his service so loyal,” said Shari Gulledge, Navy Hale Keiki school director.

Ganitch is the second recipient to receive the Heart of a Hero award.

He was born in 1919 as the youngest boy of 14 children in Mongadore, Ohio. Ganitch enlisted in the Navy in January 1941 and was stationed on USS Pennsylvania at Pearl Harbor. He retired in 1963 after 23 years of service.

“It’s outstanding to do something with these kids because these kids are the future of our country,” said Ganitch.

In 2007, Monique Raduziner, NHKS Young Patriot’s Club founder and group mentor, created the club to offer students a chance to recognize and increase their awareness and importance of the school’s history.

“I’m just proud that I can be here to help them grow and maybe inspire them a little bit,” said Ganitch. “Hopefully from my actions, it’ll help them with their future. These kids are the future and I love them.”

According to the Navy Hale Keiki School, “NHKS Young Patriot’s Club was created to support students affected by military deployments. The club helps students feel productive during a stressful time by offering an opportunity to actively support the military community. Members strive to be role models for their peers with outstanding citizenship and service to the community.”

“I am always humbled by the pure patriotism, spirit and love the kids in Young Patriot’s demonstrate for their country and those who serve it,” said Raduziner. “They understand the gift that freedom is. They understand the sacrifices that are made to have freedom. They give me the greatest hope for our future.”

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Category: News