With our Citizen-Scholar, Charity Walk, and Trade Expo events all taking place back to back over the past several months, we have taken a short hiatus from our Hospitality Industry Pau Hana (HIP) events at SKY Waikiki. Rest assured, the HIP events are still going strong, and we have one coming up next Wednesday, August 2 from 5-7pm. This month we are partnering with Securitas Security Services and honoring our Kahiau award recipient John Shaw, Securitas Assistant District Contract Security Manager at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. In addition to being an exceptional employee and exuding the Aloha Spirit at the airport, John also is a retired HPD sergeant and an avid volunteer in the community.
Sanj Sappal, Area Vice President of Securitas does a great job leading his team and continuously engaging with HLTA. Securitas was a recipient of HLTA's Allied Member of the Year award in 2013, and they frequently support events such as HLTA's General Membership Meeting and Scholarship Golf Tournament. We look forward to partnering with Securitas and honoring John Shaw’s selfless generosity next week. To join us at the HIP event, click here.
As many of you know, last October HLTA presented a $25,000 grant to Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc. (KEO) at HLTA’s 189th General Membership Meeting held at the Sheraton Kauai Resort. The funds, which come from HLTA’s 501(c)3 nonprofit arm Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, were intended to provide assistance to eligible clientele who are ready to relocate to a safe shelter and pursue sustainable employment, as well as to repatriate some of the homeless back to their loved ones on the mainland.
Since then, KEO, under the direction of CEO MaBel Ferreiro-Fujiuchi, has successfully provided transportation costs for four homeless individuals to return to their home states, where they will live and pursue employment to gain self-sufficiency. The caveat of this funding is that candidates must have a support system in place back home, and be able to provide half the cost of the flight.
The first of the four individuals to return was a 40-year-old man from Alaska. While his situation in Hawaii could barely afford him food and clothes, he did have a family member across the ocean who was willing to give him a place to live. KEO and HLTA’s funding helped him get there. After he arrived in Alaska, the KEO staff contacted the individual’s mother, who assured them that he was in her care.
Soon after this case, KEO helped three more individuals return to their home states of Nevada, New Mexico, and Montana. KEO is currently working on two more repatriation cases.
These success stories prove a testament to what the visitor industry’s contributions have been able to accomplish. KEO has done a fabulous job utilizing our contribution as a true catalyst for change on the Garden Isle. I know there will be many more stories like this to come in the near future, both from KEO and from the many other agencies our industry supports.
This recent contribution to KEO was done in consultation with Mayor Bernard Carvalho. In 2015, HLTA in collaboration with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and the Institute for Human Services (IHS) donated $25,000 to a group called the Maui Family Life Center to support its airline relocation program and help reconnect homeless transplant individuals with their families on the mainland. Similarly, in discussion with Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim’s office, HLTA intends to give another $25,000 to agencies on the Big Island this Fall.
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