I would like to recognize the important work done by Kevin Cabrera and Terrence Shimada, the Ocean Safety Office lifeguards on duty Nov. 4. Early that morning while snorkeling off Big Beach, I nearly drowned. I got caught up in a strong offshore current. My husband was able to swim out to me and kept me afloat until Kevin reached me. Had there been no lifeguard present it is quite possible that we both would have drowned.
Once back on the beach, Kevin and Terrence monitored my vitals, provided me with oxygen and called paramedics. After evaluating my vital signs, the paramedics decided to take me to the hospital, where I stayed overnight. I am very grateful to be alive and thankful for Kevin and Terrence as well as the work of the paramedics and the entire staff at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Before leaving the island I returned to thank the Ocean Safety Office staff at Big Beach; everyone was incredibly courteous, professional and gracious.
I was shocked to learn that the lifeguard positions are poorly funded and on somewhat of a tenuous footing financially. Hawaii has the largest number of drowning fatalities in the United States (despite its relatively small population). With more than 7 million visitors each year, it would seem to me that the money needed to adequately fund the lifesaving work that lifeguards do should be seen as critical to providing a safe environment for visitors and local residents.
Three Rivers, Mich.
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* Thank-you letters are published when space allows on Wednesdays and/or Sundays. Letters must be typed, and be limited to 250 words. The number of people or groups thanked is limited to 15.The letters are due by noon Monday in order to be considered for publication on Sunday or the following Wednesday. To submit material, go to The Maui News Web site at www.mauinews.com. Click on the Virtual Newsroom icon. Then click on Thank You Letters in the Community subfolder.
The staff and board of Na Hoaloha - Neighbors Helping Neighbors want to thank Young Brothers for their generous community grant to support our senior programs. Proceeds will benefit our in-home care and transportation programs, which assist Maui's seniors in staying in their own homes with the help of volunteers. For more information about our programs and our volunteer opportunities, call 249-2545 or see www.nahoaloha.org.
Gerri Shapiro,executive director
Na Hoaloha - Neighbors Helping Neighbors
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"Two-hands-to-the-belly good," one man said. Of course he was referring to the St. Theresa Church's Hale Kau Kau, which provided a meal to 331 guests on Thanksgiving Day. The 259 in-house guests and 72 homebound clients enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner.
Monsignor Terrence Watanabe, pastor of St. Theresa and executive director of Hale Kau Kau, provided a special blessing. The three staff, 10 kitchen crew, 55 servers and 10 volunteer drivers who delivered meals to the homebound gave up a portion of their holiday with family and friends to serve those who otherwise may not have had such a delicious meal.
A special thanks to the Maui Food Bank and Grand Wailea, which donated turkeys; the Culinary Academy at the University of Hawaii Maui College, which prepared all the turkeys; and Costco, S&J Bakery and Subway at Piilani Shopping Center, which provided rolls, pies and various desserts.
A sincere thank-you to the "Plunkers" who provided entertainment for the in-house guests this year. What a treat!
To all those who helped to provide hope, inspiration and gratitude, a big mahalo.