Source: Puka Puka Parades, December 1951, vol. 5 no. 10
Way back in ’43 when the 100th Bn. Was stationed in Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the old top kicks of each company relayed this urgent appeal to their men in the ranks, “The Honolulu Community Chest campaign needs our kokua”.
Everyone responded to the call by contributing $1 from his pay to this worthy cause. The net result was a collection amounting to $1350.
Then, around the same time the little, respective town of Sparta, Wisconsin, with its kindly inhabitants who extended the warmth of their fireplaces during the cold winter to the men of the One Puka Puka outfit, was struck by a ravaging flood. Immediately, the sum of $350 was diverted from the original collection and sent to Sparta towards the rehabilitation of our good Wisconsin friends. The balance of $1000 was contributed to the Honolulu Community Chest.
The able officials of Sparta pondered over the expenditure of the money for nearly eight years before coming to a decision which we are confident meets with the hearty approval of all former members of the 100th Infantry Battalion.
As one approaches Sparta’s spacious Memorial Park today, his or her attention is focused on an attractive memorial plaque hanging over the entrance with the following inscription, “Memorial-100th U.S. Infantry Battalion – Members of the 100th Infantry gave money for the picnic tables in this park as an expression of appreciation to the people of Sparta for the many courtesies extended to the organization during its training period at Camp McCoy – 1942-43.” A total of 12 picnic table-bench combinations have been installed in the park.
Sparky Matsunaga on his way back to the islands from Harvard University paid a call to the park. He reports that the benches are very practical and being widely used by picnic-goers of “on-the-ball” Sparta.