New foundation helps honor the legacy and service of a Hawaii hero

He died in the line of duty, now Reid Nishizuka’s foundation keeps his legacy alive

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Air Force Capt. Reid Nishizuka flew more than 200 combat missions that garnered him numerous medals and commendations.

In 2013, the Kailua native and three other airmen were killed in a crash in Afghanistan.

Today, his legacy lives on as each year Nishizuka is honored by his alma maters.

“Both Kailua High School and the University of Notre Dame wanted a way to keep his memory alive, keep his spirit alive,” said his younger brother, Chad.

In Nishizuka’s name both schools hand out scholarships to Air Force ROTC cadets who exemplify leadership qualities. Kailua High School presents its winner with the Nishizuka Commander’s Trophy.

“It’s so great to have good students like Reid and his whole family that realize how important education is to the future of our students here and that they want to perpetuate something that can help a different student each year,” said Kailua’'s AFROTC adviser, Lt. Col. Ted Pierson.

Now the Nishizuka family’s Remembering Reid Foundation is offering mentorships to award recipients. They will be able to tap into Nishizuka’s network of associates.

“His network goes from educators at every level, to people in the service industry, to business owners and financial advisers, and of course military members,” Chad Nishizuka said.

Pierson looks forward to the good it will accomplish.

“It’s exciting to see what direction that will take this in the future, and how that can help students here at Kailua High School,” he said.

Nishizuka was 30 when he died. His family said from his childhood through his Air Force career, he remained humble and helpful.

“He was always willing to help and sacrifice his time to make sure everybody was successful and able to succeed in whatever their endeavors were,” Chad Nishizuka said.

He said many people have had a hand in developing the Remembering Reid foundation.

Next month, it will hold a virtual 5K run fundraiser to help pay for the annual scholarships. Nishizuka’s family hopes to add additional awards in the future.

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