Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Pearl Harbor survivor and influential community member, Ardill Wright, Jr., for his life of service to his community and country.
Mr. Wright enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Wichita Falls, Texas on February 14, 1940. On the morning of December 7, 1941, while stationed in Hawaii, Ardill Wright's peaceful morning was suddenly disrupted by the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. While on the deck of the USS Raleigh, Mr. Wright narrowly survived a Japanese attack on his ship. Overcoming the chaos and disaster of that morning, Mr. Wright valiantly and courageously saved several of his fellow service members, most notably rescuing multiple sailors trapped in the USS Utah by cutting a hole in the ship's keel. Following the attack, Mr. Wright resumed his service aboard the Raleigh until the conclusion of World War II.
Following his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Mr. Wright moved to Washington State and became a member of the American Legion, Kent Post 15. Consistent with the American Legion's objectives to benefit and serve the community through the organization of local programs for veterans and their families, Mr. Wright co-founded the highly successful Kent American Legion baseball program in 1961. Additionally, Mr. Wright contributed to the Kent community by serving as team manager well into the 1990s, and ran concessions at Kent Memorial Park until
In honor of his tireless service to his community, the main diamond at Kent Memorial Park was renamed Art Wright Field in 2003. Additionally, that same year, Mr. Wright was presented with the Kent Kiwanis Citizen of the Year award.
Ardill Wright, Jr. passed away on May 25, 2010, in his Kent home. Mr. Wright is survived by his three sons: Joe, Ardill III, and Shannon, as well as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His life profoundly reflected selfless commitment to others, and his admirable citizenship and character continue to live on in the Kent community today.
Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring Ardill Wright, Jr., for his selfless commitment to others, his military service and heroism, and his dedication to his community and country.
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