As guests arrived at the annual Maui Volunteer Heroes ceremony each was greeted with a warm embrace and adorned with a lei. The room filled with smiles as we assembled to talk story, eat great food, and honor those who have made such a positive impact on our community here in Maui.
We’re thankful for every one of our volunteers at HandsOn Maui. On this day we were particularly excited to recognize, honor and celebrate a small group of Maui volunteers making a major impact. These volunteers not only dedicated hundreds of hours of support, they fill a unique and pivotal role for each one of our partner organizations. Below is a recap of our nine 2019 Maui Volunteer Heroes and their special contributions.
Meet Our 2019 Maui Volunteer Heroes
Roger Luna: Hale Makua Health Services
Roger Luna is well known and loved by all staff and residents at Hale Maku Health Services. He has dedicated his life to giving back after he got out of the military and moved back to Maui. Roger has found his own therapy in giving back to this community and spreading aloha. In 2018 alone he dedicated over 500 hours of his time to volunteering in support his Hale Maku Ohana.
Wailani Alvina Morton: Women Helping Women, Revive & Resell Boutique
Wailani Alvina Morton is known for her respect, gratitude and by the life she lives in service of the community. This past year she served 20 hours a week every week in support of Women Helping Women. In the beginning, she served the organization through mandatory service via the judicial system. She took ownership of the opportunity and through her determination, faith and hard work she is now a key player and relied on for many things.
Richard Ralson: Hawaii Nature Center
Richard Ralson is the Hawaii Nature Center Volunteer Hero. Without his work on the property, many beautiful parts of the Nature Center would not have happened! Richard is the go-to person for taking out large trees and planting and maintaining native plants. He also goes above and beyond to make repairs, gather useful items, and update the mini-kitchen. Richard has worked with the Hawaii Nature Center for nearly 6 years, volunteering every week.
Christopher Robinson: Malama Maui Nui
Christopher Robinson of Malama Maui Nui is dedicated to their mission to “beautify and maintain Maui’s environment.” He is the founder of Maui Beach Clean Up, but he didn’t just set up one single clean up, he set up an entire organization! Christopher also volunteers with the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter and serves as their secretary. His skills with technology are incredibly useful and the staff are always thankful to have his help with their computer and website needs.
Robyn Walters: Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
Robyn Walters has dedicated nearly a decade of her life to sharing her skills in mentoring, training and as a leader in the areas of marine debris and water quality monitoring. Robyn has served as a National Marine Sanctuary volunteer for the past nine years. Fellow volunteers and staff see her as an ideal role model.
Danny & Ellen Yamamura: Maui Historical Society
Lovingly known as Uncle Danny and Auntie Ellen, these two volunteers can be found at the Maui Historical Society every Thursday and Friday morning. Their dedication enlivens the spirit of folklore and rich Maui history that is important for this generation and the next to hold close. Danny helps with much of the yard maintenance work while Ellen is often greeting visitors in the museum shop. In addition to volunteering every week without fail, they also dedicate their time for special events.
Esther Yap: Organ Transplant Maui Support Group
Esther Yap of the Organ Transplant Maui Support Group serves in the legacy of her husband’s memory, Nolan Yap. The training she provides is especially powerful for the organ recipients because it is through the eyes of an experience of a caregiver. Esther serves as Director and Secretary of the support group. She has dedicated hours of support to those who are recovering from an organ transplant. She is known as one who restores hope by sharing her story with others.
Allison Chun: Haku Baldwin Center
Allison Chun has been volunteering with the Haku Baldwin Center for 9 years. The support she provides for children with special needs is so meaningful, especially during weekly riding sessions. In fact, she is one of the Therapeutic Riding Programs longest-serving volunteers. She has dedicated hundreds of hours to her community and for that, we are truly grateful.
Debbie Wheeler: Maui County Office on Aging – Na Hoaloha
Debbie Wheeler serves the Lanai Aging Network – Na Hoaloha making it possible for many seniors to live a life of abundance and stability knowing they have help with things like grocery, transportation & laundry. She is not only a true friend to everyone she serves but also plays a key part in the Lanai Aging Network committee. (not pictured)
When the 2019 Maui Volunteer Heroes celebration came to a close, the feeling of standing among giants lingered in the air. There are no words that can truly express the gratitude, admiration, and sincere thanks for each and every one of our HandsOn Maui Volunteers, especially our 2019 Maui Volunteer Heroes!
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