HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Soldiers from Schofield Barracks welcomed four Japanese orphans to Hawaii on Monday in a long-standing tradition spanning six decades.
Soldiers in the Army's 27th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Wolfhounds, lined the hall of Honolulu's airport to share aloha with four children from Holy Family Home orphanage in Osaka, Japan.
"It's very, very unique what the 27th Infantry has with the orphanage," said Capt. David Beaumont. "We are able to, when called upon, go to war. Then turn around and pick up that child that does not have a home and show them that hey, we are your family."
Beaumont and his family will host some of the children as they explore Oahu for two weeks in a tradition that started just years after World War II.
The Wolfhounds have been hosting children from Osaka since 1957, eight years after Master Sgt. Hugh O'Reilly found the orphanage in disrepair.
"He reached out to the Wolfhounds to help host the children and give them activities out in the community to not only send them home with a sense of the strength and compassion of the Wolfhounds, but also the community that makes Hawaii such a special place," said Keoni Wagner, president of Peace Bridge Inc..
The volunteer organization started after O'Reilly's death to continue one of the longest military and civilian relationships in the Army.
The four children in Hawaii this year, who are ages 11 and 12, said they looked forward to playing soccer with the soldiers.
For Wolfhound families, the opportunity to help the orphans is an unforgettable experience.
"It's been life changing as of now," Beaumont said. "I cannot wait when this week is over so that we can spoil the two girls that we have."