Another record-breaking year for the Visitor Industry Charity Walk!
Celebrating 40 years of giving back to Hawai‘i’s communities.
Nearly 7,000 walkers, participants, and volunteers gathered in Waikiki on Saturday, May 19 for the close of the 40th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk held on Oahu, raising a day-of total of $450,000 - with monies still rolling in.
Throughout the month of May, Charity Walks were held on Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Hawai‘i Island and Kaua‘i. The combined funds raised from all of the State’s Walks as of this date totals for now a new record of $2.5 million!
Saturday’s walk on Oahu started with a light breakfast provided by Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa as the crowd was gathered for the morning announcements by emcee Sam Kapu.
Welcome remarks were given by Charity Walk Chair Glenn Vergara, HLTA Chairperson Gregg Nelson, Honorary Chair Rick Blangiardi, Salem Media Partner Dita Holifield, Council Chair Ernest Martin, and yours truly. Return guest appearances were made by Hawai‘i News Now’s Guy Hagi and Stephanie Lum to count us down for the launch of our 40th walk.
Once the walkers got going, they were treated to food, entertainment, and fun throughout a 5-mile course starting from Ala Moana Beach Park, through Kalakaua Avenue and back.
Food selections at checkpoints along the route included staples such as spam musubi, watermelon, my favorite chocolate chip cookies from Double Tree and more. I was also excited to see that many of our checkpoints were trying new ono giveaways this year which included li hing mui pineapple, chicken kelaguen, and pulled pork tacos. Needless to say, this truly is the only walk in Hawai‘i where you actually gain weight!
As our caravan visited the checkpoints along the route, it was refreshing to see many new faces this year walking and volunteering alongside our Charity Walk veterans. This year we saw large public school groups come out to participate and volunteer from Farrington , Waipahu , Kaimuki , Dole Intermediate and Momilani Elementary joining the ranks of other large volunteer contributors , such as Special Olympics. Also joining our hospitality members from the Honolulu and Waikiki districts, was a huge Ko Olina contingency that came out in force from Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, Aulani Disney Resort and the Four Seasons Resort Ko Olina ! We were also pleased to welcome new Charity Walk checkpoint host, Lucky Strike Social Honolulu and welcome back the ‘Alohilani Resort, who had taken a break as they rebranded the former Pacific Beach Hotel.
I would also like to give a special shout-out to some of our past Charity Walk Leaders; they did their time as some of our very recent Charity Walk Chairs and continue to be a part of our tradition of giving. Kudos to past HLTA Chairs Scott Ingwers and Julie Arigo for putting on their Saturday sneakers and walking with us and to Past Chair Kelly Hoen who was on the front lines at the Outrigger Checkpoint at Beach Walk. And it was amazing to see former HLTA Chair Andre Tatibouet share his memories of the very first Charity Walk that he walked in 4 decades ago !
As participants made their way back to Ala Moana Beach Park to finish the walk, they were greeted with the famous Portuguese sausage chilidog plate lunch provided by the Kyo-ya Ohana, music by Pule Kakou, and lucky draw prizes of “staycations” here on Oahu. Emcees led by Salem Media's Sam Kapu and Kimo Villarimo and our very own Bulla and Lynette Eastman of Aqua- Aston welcomed walkers back to the park and entertained the crowd as they enjoyed their lunch and the beautiful weather.
With a banner year and record-breaking numbers officially in the books, I would like to extend my sincerest mahalo to all of our sponsors, partners, volunteers, donors, and participants who have made this year such a resounding success. It is thanks to your hard work and generosity that we are able to continue our Tradition of Giving! After all…”We’re all in this together”.
Mahalo Hawai‘i for your Kokua for making our 40th anniversary of Charity Walk our best one yet!
See Charity Walk in local media!
Hawaii News Now: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38234168/statewide-walkathon-raises-25m-for-local-charities
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