Every May during National Older Americans Month, Hawai‘i’s four county Area Agencies on Aging recognize seniors from each county for their volunteer accomplishments. This year’s national theme was Communities of Strength. Each county received nominations from the public for Outstanding Older Americans. A man and a woman were chosen from each county.
Rep. Gregg Takayama introduced the honorees from each county.
Dimples Kano has great passion for raising up leaders, and for helping the houseless and food insecure, as evidenced by her 50-year involvement with the Zonta Club of Kauai, 45 years with the Kauai United Way and as a lifetime member of the Kauai Salvation Army.
Russell Maeda has served as treasurer of the Kauai Veterans Council and as chairman of the Kauai Veterans Day Parade. He has also held several positions the Kaua‘i Association of the United Church of Christ and the Lihue Christian Church.
City & County of Honolulu:
Rose Leong has been a volunteer with Ohana100, The Daniel Kahikina Akaka Family Foundation. She enjoys reading to the youngsters, who call her “Aunty Rose.” Retired from a career with the Hawai‘i Department of Education, she sees how reading stories makes learning fun.
Nash Keel helps the vulnerable population and does all he can to prevent their exploitation, mistreatment and/or abuse through the Office on Aging. He volunteers with the Hawaii Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, making weekly visits to a nearby nursing home where he serves as a resident advocate.
Mary Trotto has been an integral leader at Hale Kau Kau at St. Theresa Church for over 20 years. Every month she puts in at least 180 hours volunteering to help feed over 150 individuals per night, 365 days a year. She also helps prepare and deliver meals. She is a South Maui Volunteers member, tracking homeless issues and advising Maui County. She also helps monitor safety as a member of the Kalama Park Action Team.
Bob Carroll was nominated for the time, talent and wisdom he has contributed to his community, Maui County and through the state. In his hometown of Hāna, he helps represent the needs of residents and preserve the town’s history. Bob has also served as a volunteer community consultant. As a person with disability, Bob advocates for others, as well. He continues to tirelessly work with Hana residents as voice of the community.
Annie Ka‘aukai has been a key volunteer at the Pāhoa Nutrition Congregate program, helping to serve meals, work in the kitchen and distribu te food. She has served as president for the past three years. She is also an RSVP volunteer, assisting with fundraising, and library and mediation work. She has logged over 4,578 hours of volunteer service, with not a sign of stopping.
Wayne Kawachi’s superpower is the ability to see a community need and find a way to meet it. He is a founding board member and has served as president of Ka‘ū Kakou for 10 years so far. As a retired commercial fisherman, he has donated thousands of pounds of fresh fish that he caught himself to local seniors. His positive attitude and can-do spirit make him a great community leader.
A recorded video of the ceremony can be found at http://bit.ly/OlderAmericansHawaii.