Los Angeles, CA -- Members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) expressed sadness and dismay at the untimely passing of Todd Sato, a young JACL leader who died this past weekend of heart failure at the age of 29.
Todd suffered from heart problems throughout his life and recently celebrated his 10 year anniversary as a heart transplant survivor. Due to a change in his health, he was put on the transplant list for a second time which was anticipated to be precautionary but not urgent. Todd was a champion of organ donation and was passionate about the Donate Life project, a national organ and tissue donor registry. At the time of his passing, he was able to make precious donations that helped save the lives of others.
As a dedicated volunteer on the National, District, and Chapter levels of the JACL, Todd served the JACL as a past National Youth/Student Representative from 2004 to 2006. He was the Pacific Southwest (PSW) District Youth Rep from 2001-2004. He helped organize successful National Youth/Student conferences and worked hard for the JACL. He was the president of the Progressive Westside JACL chapter and currently served on the PSW District Council board.
He also worked closely with a number of community organizations that included Ties that Bind, Intercollegiate Nikkei Council, and the Chinatown Service Center. In 2006 and 2007 Todd was co-chair for the JACL Health Forums in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
Josh Spry, Secretary Treasurer on the JACL National Board, served with Todd on the National Board and the Youth/Student Council when Todd was Youth Rep and Josh was Youth Chair. Josh had these comments: "It's always sad to lose a young person with a passion for his community. Todd served at all levels of this organization and in several others. His faith, conviction for his community, and loyalty to his friends are commendable, and he will be missed."
National Executive Director, Floyd Mori, stated: "We have lost a great young leader for which we are deeply saddened. It has been a privilege to know Todd, and we will miss his presence. He served well. We offer condolences to his family and many friends."
The 2009 JACL National Youth/Student conference held in St. Paul, Minnesota, over the weekend was dedicated to Todd for his many years of contribution to the JACL National Youth/Student Council.
Todd is the son of Gene and Cathy Sato. A funeral service will be held at the Gardena Valley Baptist Church, 1630 West 158th Street, Gardena, California 90247, on Wednesday, July 8, at 10:30 am.