Japanese exchange students scheduled to be in East Texas, missin - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Japanese exchange students scheduled to be in East Texas, still missing

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By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Elizabeth Thomas – email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – A group of Japanese exchange students with Rotary International were scheduled to be in East Texas, on Wednesday.

Their trip had to be cancelled, as many of them are still unaccounted for.

Laura Radde met her second son Takashi about this time last year, he's an exchange student with Rotary International.

"There was a little bit of a language barrier, of course, but it didn't take long for us to get to know him," says Laura, "He wanted to do everything. He didn't want to sit inside for one minute."

Takashi was the only boy in the group. He stayed with Laura and her son Sam for a week.

The Raddes's say they finally heard from Takashi on Friday morning.

"Every day we get good news… we find one or two more people we've been looking for," Laura explained, "It's very personal… we feel like we have family over there."

Laura's son Sam says, "It was really worrisome. These are the people I shared my life with and I lived with for two weeks straight."

Last summer, Sam represented Rotary District 5830 when he went to live with a Japanese host family.

He says his mother was supposed to accompany this year's group to East Texas.

Then the quake… and tsunami waves hit.

In an email, the Japanese program chair writes:

Some of the team members are still missing… Others lost their family members to live with and houses to live in… We've never met such a cruel and fearful disaster before.

District 5830 is now rallying its own Rotarian troops. The plan is to raise as many donations as possible to send to their Japanese Sister-District in need.

"…where the houses were just completely washed away… I think it's a really good idea to try to help out… they have nothing," Sam expressed.

Except for an extended East Texas family, who are more than willing to help.

Rotary District 5830 covers much of Northeast Texas. Its Japanese Sister-District includes Sendai, Japan—one of the hardest hit areas.

If you are interested in donating, you can mail a check to

PDG Bill Rains
PO BOX 913
Clarksville, TX 75426

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