Honoring A Trustee Of The Seabrook Educational And Cultural Center
The Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center (SECC) museum has been an important place for Seabrook Estonians whose post-World War II history has been prominently displayed in it. Mr. John Fuyuume, a Trustee of SECC and well known and respected among Seabrook Estonians, was honored on September 7th with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, a prestigious decoration bestowed by the Consulate General of Japan in New York in the name of the Emperor of Japan. The local Estonians, museum docent Helgi Viire and Trustee of SECC Evi Truumees, were among the honored quests. The event took place at the Maplewood III restaurant and was attended by Ambassador and Consul General of Japan in New York Shigeyuki Hiroki, Consul Takashi Kamada and Consul Fumiho Suzawas, of the Consulate General of Japan in New York City.
The Order of the Rising Sun is the second most prestigious Japanese decoration after the Order of the Chrysanthemum, which generally is awarded to royalty or heads of state. Emperor Mejji of Japan founded the Order of the Rising Sun in 1875 to honor exceptional civil or military merit.
The SECC museum has written accounts with numerous photographs depicting the travels of refugee Estonians through displaced persons camps mounted on the museum walls. Estonian handicrafted items by former Seabrook residents Selma Virunurm and Reet Sikkemäe are exhibited in the museum’s display cases along with crafts of the Japanese Americans that settled in Seabrook, NJ. Paintings by Milli Põldmaa, Maret Maiste and Nikolai Voore adorn the walls of the SECC’s Ellen Nakamura Art Gallery.
In addition to the Estonian displays in the museum there is also a film “Seabrook Farm Remembered” containing interviews with people of different nationalities including several Estonians.
The SECC museum opened in 1994 and it is operated by an all-volunteer staff, including some from the Japanese American and Estonian community. Helgi Viire and Evi Truumees are part of the volunteer museum staff. Peeter Vilms from the West Coast is designing the SECC webpage and the plasma-screen foto display. Friends and family members from Estonia visit the museum often and take guided tours to view the many artifacts, photos and historical documents. This gives them an opportunity to learn about the many ethnic groups that settled in the Seabrook multicultural community.
The Seabrook Estonian community is thankful to the SECC for preserving the history and culture of Seabrook Estonian society.
Information about SECC can be viewed on www.seabrookeducation.org .
Secretary of Seabrook Estonian Association
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