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NEWS | Dec. 14, 2021

Bonsai Tree Memorial Honors Spirit Of Fallen PHNSY Employees

By Dave Amodo Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility

A memorial planter box was unveiled, this summer, at the Quality Assurance office, Code 135, of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility as a gift honoring the memories of Roldan Agustin and Vince Kapoi, Jr. whose lives were sadly taken by an active-duty Sailor at Dry Dock 2, Dec. 4, 2019.

Family members of Kapoi, Jr. and fellow Code 135 employees were in attendance to see the planter box inscribed with the words, “The NAVSEA NDT Community prays for your continued comfort.” The box, which was created by Jason Hence, the NAVSEA Nondestructive Testing and Welding Programs Manager, felt that it was his personal obligation to design and create the planter box which is permanently housed at the Quality Assurance office at Bldg. 1443.

“The idea of the gift was to have something living and growing,” said Hence. “Bonsai trees are hearty, living and lasting, to be taken care of and nurtured.”

The design of the memorial planter box had additional help from Michael O’Connell, a Quality Assurance Specialist from Code 132 of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and included the U.S. Navy Logo embedded into the wood and sealed with epoxy. O’Connell used burl maple wood accents to create a visual impression of flowing lava, the ocean and coral. Inside the planter box, Hence chose two bonsai trees, one leaning left and the other leaning right to symbolize the enduring spirits of Agustin and Kapoi, Jr..

Additionally, on Dec. 5, 2021, the memorial planter box was displayed during a ceremony in which the Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro awarded the families of both Agustin and Kapoi, Jr., the Angela M. Houtz Medal for Fallen Civilians. During the ceremony, Del Toro expressed his deepest condolences to family members. The medal is named after an intelligence analyst who died at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

“All in all, I think it shows we all care about them and our concern for the well-being of Code 135,” said O’Connell.