This past week, I did a report on the city of Napa and it’s close ties to its sister city Iwanuma in Miyagi Prefecture. Iwanuma is home to the Sendai Airport and was hard hit by the tsunami. I met Charlie Ray, one of the founding members of the sister city program. He met us at the Napa City Hall with an album filled with photos of his past visits to Iwanuma and the many friends he made over the years. I was touched by his tears and great concern for his Japanese friends.
On Sunday March 27, 2011 at the Napa Opera House Ray and a dedicated group of Napa Valley residents are holding a fundraising benefit concert for Iwanuma.
As Ray pointed out, the Japanese cherry trees from Iwanuma that were gifts to Napa, are beginning to blossom around the city now. He hopes people will remember the strong roots of friendship between the two sister cities and reach out to help.