Revisit stories from Bill Paty, Frank Padgett and Jerry Coffee and their harrowing experiences as prisoners of war. Bill Paty, who served as Director of the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, landed in German hands in Normandy, right before the D-Day Invasion. On the other side of the world, retired Associate Justice Judge Frank Padgett parachuted into enemy territory during World War II and was held prisoner for eight months by the Japanese military. Navy Captain Jerry Coffee spent seven years in captivity in North Vietnam. These three stories of fortitude and faith are a testament to the strength of the human spirit and dedication to one’s country, even in the darkest of times.
Bill Paty has a life story that spans nine decades of personal and Hawai‘i history. Many residents probably remember Paty as the state land director during Governor John Waihee's administration. In the 1970s, Paty presided over the historic Constitutional Convention and later served as chairman of the State Board of Land and Natural Resources, where he had the chance to fulfill his dream of helping to conserve Hawai‘i's natural environment for future generations.