(BIVN) – A Hawaiʻi County Parks and Recreation Supervisor was honored on Wednesday in North Kohala, for his “exceptional act of heroism” in saving two lives off Māhukona Beach Park last month.
From a Hawaiʻi County news release:
Mayor Mitch Roth and Hawaiʻi County officials gathered at the Kohala Intergenerational Center this morning to honor Parks and Recreation Supervisor Pono Nakamura for his exceptional act of heroism. Nakamura, while off-duty, rescued two distressed swimmers off the coast of Mahukona Beach Park. The ceremony, attended by community members, first responders, and local officials, commemorated Mr. Nakamura’s selfless actions on August 6, 2023.
On that fateful Sunday morning, Officer Kapelieli Kauahikaua Jr., a patrolman for the North Kohala District, received a distress call about four swimmers in trouble near Mahukona Beach Park. Officer Kauahikaua observed two swimmers struggling far offshore as they awaited the Hawaiʻi Fire Department’s helicopter for assistance.
Steven Nakamura, Pono Nakamura’s father and a park supervisor, stepped forward, notifying Officer Kauahikaua that Pono was fishing on his boat and reachable by phone. Without hesitation, Pono rushed to the Mahukona pier. Accompanied by Steven Nakamura and Ted Matsuda, Pono embarked on a rescue mission, safely retrieving the two distressed female swimmers.
Though Pono Nakamura’s name did not initially appear in the official police report, Officer Kauahikaua acknowledged the extraordinary nature of Pono’s actions. He communicated to the Mayor’s Office, stating, “Mr. Nakamura’s selfless and heroic act cannot go unnoticed.” The officer emphasized the significance of Pono Nakamura’s swift response and unwavering commitment to community well-being.
Mayor Mitch Roth, echoing Officer Kauahikaua’s sentiments, expressed profound appreciation for Pono Nakamura’s bravery and dedication to the safety of Hawaiʻi County residents. “We are immensely proud to have individuals like Pono Nakamura in our community who are willing to step up without hesitation to help those in need. His courage and selflessness reflect the true essence of the Aloha spirit that defines Hawaiʻi.”
The ceremony at the Kohala Intergenerational Center was attended by Hawaiʻi County Administration members, local first responders, community leaders, and members of Pono’s ʻohana. Pono received a Certificate of Commendation and a heartfelt letter of appreciation from Mayor Mitch Roth for his outstanding service to the community.
The County of Hawaiʻi extends its gratitude to Pono Nakamura and remains committed to recognizing and celebrating individuals like him who contribute positively to Hawaiʻi Island’s diverse and special communities.