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Visitor industry gives back to Maui County troops

By Staff | May 5, 2011

Specialist Valentino Bailey of the Army National Guard receives a two-night stay at the Grand Wailea Resort from Maui Hotel & Lodging Association Executive Director Carol Reimann.

WAILUKU — The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association recently launched a new program that will award Maui County soldiers returning from deployment in 2011 two complimentary nights at an accommodations property on Maui.

MHLA’s Armed Forces Deployment Benefit Program was announced to an appreciative audience during a recent “Welcome Home” event for the Army National Guard in Waikapu.

Harmonie Borden, family assistant specialist with the Hawaii National Guard, said, “We are very grateful to the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association for putting together such a wonderful program to honor our troops. We are truly overwhelmed by the generosity of Maui’s visitor industry.”

The benefit program was the idea of military advocate and veteran Michael Covich, who approached County Councilman Mike White.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to those serving in our armed forces, and this is a wonderful way to say thank you,” White said.

“When Mr. Covich approached me, I felt soldiers and their families deserve uninterrupted time together in a beautiful

setting, and MHLA has done a great job in quickly initiating this program.”

Most of the soldiers returning from deployment in 2011 have been separated from their families for at least a year. The intent of the benefit program is to provide an avenue for soldiers to get reacquainted with their significant other or another adult family member after being away for a lengthy period of time.

“MHLA is proud to give back to Maui County troops who selflessly defend our country,” said Carol Reimann, executive director.

“We salute their efforts and are delighted to show our gratitude with this benefit program. What better place to have a much-deserved mini-vacation upon coming home from deployment than in our island paradise… the number one island in the world.”

To qualify, a soldier must be registered in a branch of the U.S. military and have returned from deployment in 2011. Soldiers requesting consideration must complete a

request form accompanied with their DD214 and proof of residency in Maui County. Additional information on qualifications is available at the MHLA website at www.mauihla.org.