(BIVN) – Thanksgiving is less than a week away, but the community in Waimea is already saying “mahalo” to the Big Island’s first responders.
The annual Waimea Community Association dinner was held on Wednesday, November 15th, at Mana Christian ‘Ohana’s Kahilu Town Hall.
“It’s just an opportunity that we don’t always have,” said Nancy Carr Smith, one of the event organizers. “We don’t always take the time to stop at the firehouse or the police station and thank them for what they do. So, with November being a month of gratitude, it just is an event that we’ve built over the years, and just gives us a chance to all come together and thank them.”
“We do this work and we have a strong belief in what we do,” said Hawaiʻi County’ Deputy Fire Chief Eric Moller, “but to to have the community come out and actually put their arm around us and thank us for the efforts that go into it, it speaks volumes of the community and the joy that we get out of that.”
This is the 7th year in which first responders have been honored by the Waimea Community Association. Mayor Mitch Roth and Council Members Heather Kimball and Cindy Evans joined the WCA for the event.
From the an association media release issued before the event:
Emergency responder honorees will include Waimea County Fire Stations including Waimea station, South Kohala station and Waikoloa station, as well as Kohala and Kona stations. Volunteer teams of Anekona and Waiki’i along with other volunteers from Kona to Kohala, all who made a big difference in the August fires, as well as Waimea County Police. Also from the County are lifeguards from the Ocean Safety program, and County Department of Public Works roads division who have been an immense help during fire events. Pohakuloa Training Area police and fire emergency responders who cover the Daniel K. Inouye Highway in partnership with County police and fire will be on hand as well as State DLNR DOFAW and DOCARE officers, plus the National Park, who assisted with the fire near Spencer Beach Park and members of Waimea’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital.
The dinner gathering is free and all are invited. It will begin with a pule by Kimo Ho’opai of Mana Christian ‘Ohana. Dinner – set to music by Waimea musician Ryan Hooley – will be prepared by a number of Waimea restaurants and stores including Earls, Ippys, Paʻina by Ocean, Big Island Brewhaus, Dom DeLucas, Merrimans, Pau Pizza, Red Water Cafe, Hawaiian Style Cafe, The Fish & The Hog, Moa Kitchen, Tropical Dreams, Puako Store, Two Ladies Kitchen, Starbucks, Foodland and KTA.