This is the story of the late James “Jimmy” O’Donnell, as well as the story of the USS Indianapolis on which he served. Today on Indy Style, we salute him.
The Indianapolis City Market is raising funds needed to erect a plaque-telling the story of the World War II and Indianapolis Fire Department veteran. The City Market has been honored to house a statue of O’Donnell on the Whistler (west) plaza for several years, but the statue does not tell the story of the worst U.S. naval disaster in our country’s history, or of O’Donnell’s part in it. This plaque will serve to enshrine these stories for generations to come.
Joe Perin, Public Relations and Events Manager, Indianapolis City Market, tells us about a fundraising campaign to help raise $5,500 to erect a bronze cast plaque; it runs through Kickstarter, and is an all-or-nothing campaign that ends on Friday, Oct 27.
About the Campaign:
To raise funds for the campaign the City Market is partnering with Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Union Local 416 to hold a fundraiser dinner at their union hall on Thursday, Oct 19, from 5-8 p.m. Admission will be $10 and will include food and drink, with all proceeds being donated to the campaign. Local 416’s union hall is located at 748 Massachusetts Avenue.
Local bar and restaurant Mass Ave Pub will also lend a hand by holding a give-back the same day as the fundraiser dinner, Oct 19, by donating 15 percent of food sales to the campaign during their hours of operation, 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.
About City Market
Indianapolis City Market is a 501© 3 non-profit organization dedicated to feeding the community and our guests by offering distinct foods, products and services in an environment that preserves and perpetuates Central Indiana’s agricultural, architectural and cultural history. For more information, visit our website www.indycm.com , our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/indycm or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @IndyCM.
About James “Jimmy” O’Donnell
James E. “Jimmy” O’Donnell was a born-and-raised resident of Indianapolis, a graduate of Tech High School Class of 1938, and a Water Tender Third Class in the U.S. Navy on the USS Indianapolis. After surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, O’Donnell remained in the Navy until 1946. O’Donnell returned to Indianapolis and continued to serve his community as an Indianapolis firefighter; he retired from department in 1981. O’Donnell and his wife Mary Alice were active parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes; he was a member of the American Legion #0495, the Disabled American Veterans, F.R.A., Amvets, the VFW, Our Lady of Fatima Council of Knights of Columbus, an honorary member of the Sertoma Club, the Firefighters’ Union, and the Stage Hands’ Union. O’Donnell passed away in January 2013.
About the USS Indianapolis:
In the early hours of July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was en route to its Pacific Ocean base after completing a top secret mission that would ultimately end World War II – delivering the final parts to the first atomic bomb.
As the warship moved through the night waters it was struck by two torpedoes from an enemy submarine. The USS Indianapolis sunk in minutes, taking some 300 men of its nearly 1,200 man crew with it. Those who lived through the sinking faced days lost at sea with no food or water, far too few lifeboats, and heavily shark infested waters.
The USS Indianapolis’ mission had been so top secret that when they never arrived in port nobody thought to look for them. After days adrift in horrific conditions a Navy scout plane finally spotted the survivors and called for ships to pick them up. Of the original crew of nearly 1,200 just 317 men were pulled from the water. One of them was Water Tender 3rd Class James “Jimmy” O’Donnell, a native Hoosier and the only Indianapolis resident to survive the disaster.
The USS Indianapolis gained worldwide attention in August 2017 when a team of civilian researches, led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, found the lost ship more than three miles beneath the ocean surface. The Japanese submarine that sank the USS Indianapolis, I-58, was also found near the Japanese city of Nagasaki by The Society La Plongee for Deep Sea Technology in September 2017.
To help the City Market raise funds visit:
For more information about the USS Indianapolis Survivors Organization visit:
To learn more, visit:
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Twitter & IG – @IndyCM