NewsLocal News / July 27, 2017

City Market To Hold Vigil In Honor Of James O'Donnell

City Market To Hold Vigil In Honor Of James O'Donnell

Jimmy O'Donnell survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II and later became a firefighter in Indianapolis.

While many may notice the statue of “Jimmy” O’Donnell outside the City Market on the West Plaza, some people may be unaware of the historical significance.  

The late Indianapolis native was a survivor of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.  

“He came back in 1946 and was a fireman for a little over 30 years. He lived through some ordeals with IFD that should have killed him. From what I heard from people who knew him and from people within the fire department is that man cheated death more than anybody, so we think he’s an incredible man and a real hero,” says City Market Spokesman Joe Perin.

According to; O'Donnell was instrumental in the drive to build a national memorial dedicated to the USS Indianapolis. He, along with others, made hundreds of appearances and appeals to raise funds and support. The memorial was unveiled and dedicated on Aug. 2, 1995.  A bronze statue of Jimmy O'Donnell stands at the City Market in downtown Indianapolis as testimony to the USS Indianapolis and its crew of over 1,100 seamen.

The City Market will tell O’Donnell’s story Friday, July 28 during a vigil from 2 to 3 p.m. There is also an effort to erect a plague near Jimmy’s statue detailing the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, O’Donnell’s involvement and his significance to the Indianapolis community.

“Right now we don’t have a dollar amount of what we would like to raise, but we know it will be in the several thousand dollars," Perin says. "We would like to do it right, and we would like to do something very nice to honor these people and Mr. O’Donnell."

O’Donnell died Jan. 8, 2013 at the age of 92.


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