Lodi’s Frank Sasaki left a legacy as a community volunteer and public servant, which has earned him induction into the Lodi Community Hall of Fame.
Sasaki, who died last November, sat on the board of directors for the Lodi Police Foundation and the Lodi Memorial Hospital Foundation, volunteered with the Salvation Army and was instrumental in the creation of the Lodi House shelter for homeless women and children. He also founded the Lodi Crime Stoppers.
His dedication and commitment to his community are what set him apart, Lodi Police Chief Tod Patterson said of Sasaki.
“He was someone we should all aspire to be,” Patterson said. “He is what today's culture of people are missing. He was someone that genuinely wanted to make the world a better place.”
Patterson, who served on the board of Lodi CrimeStoppers with Sasaki, found his enthusiasm and optimism refreshing.
Sasaki’s passion for supporting his community was contagious.
“Frank was someone that made you strive to do more and be better. His passing was a tremendous loss to the community because he was someone that cared about the community,” Patterson said.
For Patterson, Sasaki’s legacy is carried on in the thriving Crime Stoppers programs that he founded.
“People are often reluctant to come forward with information about a crime, but Crime Stoppers offered incentives for people to speak up about crimes they witnessed, and because of that program we get people that give us information so that we can do our job, and solve crimes,” Patterson said.
The influence that Sasaki had on the community was like a domino effect, said Wayne Craig, president and CEO of the Lodi Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Sasaki was never done helping, and when he presented an idea or project, you knew that he was only getting started, Craig said.
“Frank was very creative and he always had ideas to keep us going, and he was so committed to getting things done,” said Craig, adding that Sasaki helped the foundation transition to the digital age.
“Frank was so modest and humble, he would be so embarrassed to receive this honor if he were alive. But that is what is so unique about him, and that is how you know how genuine he was,” Craig said. “His heart was so big, and he constantly put the needs of others before the needs of himself.”
Although Sasaki suffered complications from spinal stenosis — a degenerative disease caused by the narrowing of his spine — in the latter part of his life he remained persistent about giving back to his community, recalls local doctor Ken Mullen.
“When Frank was determined to do something, he did it, and he did not let anything get in his way,” Mullen said.
His motivation to start Lodi House was driven by his desire to help children and homeless women in the community find shelter.
“Lodi has lost a remarkable member of its community. No one else can mirror his legacy and his impact,” Jack Johal, a lifelong friend of Sasaki, told the News-Sentinel after Sasaki’s death.
Frank Sasaki will be honored along with the other 2019 Lodi Community Hall of Fame inductees during a dinner ceremony at 5:30 p.m. March 16 at the Lodi Boys and Girls Club, 275 Poplar St., Lodi. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased by calling 209-334-2697.