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NEWS | April 23, 2024

"The Original Tiger Mom" Army Vet Toasts 100-Year-Old Matriarch's Legacy

By Staff Sgt. Andre Taylor

Family members and friends with the Wahiawa United Church of Christ, (WUCC) proudly honored U.S. Army Wife and Mother of four sons Velma P. Kim during her 100th birthday celebration April 21, 2024.

The members of the of WUCC hosted a potluck luncheon event, which was attended by close friends and family to honor the legacy of Kim and her support to the U.S. Military in Hawaii.

During the celebration guest were able to formally worship, join together in prayer, and share thoughts and acknowledge Kim’s contributions. One of the main areas of focus for Kim was celebrating her accomplishments throughout her lifetime.

Dr. Andrew H.N. Kim, U.S. Army Veteran Col. Retired, expressed the importance of serving and honoring his mother during the event. He said that often times we celebrate the memory of our loved ones and put more time and money in their memory.

“You know what’s more important is to serve and honor our parents while they are here… “Kim posed to the crowd. “Like mom says, you only have one mom and one day they may not be here.”

Kim, spoke to those in attendance about his mother’s history and standing as the reason for her family’s success.

Velma, also known by her sons as the matriarch and the original “Tiger Mom” was the driving force behind her family successes, supporting her husband’s military and civilian careers and her sons’ successes as well.

“Her family is the first Asian American family and among the first families in America to graduate an entire set of siblings from our nation’s military academies, “Kim said. “All four who have subsequently and honorably served and retired as senior U.S. military officers.”

Suzi Emily Sako, a friend and senior member of the church added her insight about Velma during her celebration in a speech that highlighted senior members of the church revisiting past memories of Velma’s reputation.

“She was charged with daily chores at a very young age as her family operated a laundry service” Sako said. “Velma’s job was to hang the laundry every day, as she and her sisters had to iron, fold, and sort through that laundry for delivery the next day.

Sako also spoke to those in attendance of Velma’s core values and motto which highlighted her personality and what she stood for as a reminder of the principles that guided her actions and the essence of who she was.

“Do the right thing, do it the right way, do it for the right reasons. And do it with respect, conviction and courage.”

The event concluded with Kim and Sako expressing their gratitude to everyone who attended and helped make Velma’s 100th birthday celebration a cherished memory for her family and friends. It was a heartfelt acknowledgment of the support and love shared on this special occasion.