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Maui Communicators wins three public relations awards

By Staff | Aug 6, 2009

Sara Foley (center) and Norm Bezane of Maui Communicators are congratulated by PRSA Hawaii President Kristin Bonilla for winning three awards for their communications efforts on behalf of the West Maui Hospital and Medical Center.

HONOLULU — Sara Foley and Norm Bezane, co-owners of the Lahaina-based public relations firm Maui Communicators, were recently awarded three Koa Awards of Excellence from PRSA Hawaii, a chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, for their work with West Maui Improvement Foundation on media and other programs in support of the West Maui Hospital and Medical Center.

The husband and wife team won an Anvil Award of Excellence for “The Power of Effective Public Relations; Winning the Fight for the West Maui Hospital” for complete programs “incorporating sound research, planning, execution and evaluation in the nonprofit business category.” 

Maui Communicators also won two Hammer Awards of Excellence for outstanding public relations tactics for its media relations program, and for a Viewpoint opinion piece, “New $70 million plan will deliver more than a hospital for West Maui,” that appeared in The Maui News.

Work submitted for the programming award included a comprehensive website featuring photos of residents who would benefit from the hospital, web survey, community presentations and a wide variety of news and opinion pieces prepared for the media.

Only three large Hawaii-based public relations firms, including McNeil Wilson Communications, Bennet Group Strategic Communications and Becker Communications Inc., won more awards. The award program was judged by an affiliate chapter in Portland, Oregon. 

“Although it is gratifying to be recognized by our peers in the profession,” Foley said, “our best reward is that this six-year effort culminated in the approval by three state committees and final state approval by the state to build the hospital.”

“We consider our long and successful effort to build support of the public, opinion leaders and legislators, using all the tools of our craft, one of our greatest professional achievements,” Bezane said. “Giving something back to Maui is a wonderful way to say thank you to an island that has given us so much.”

Maui Communicators won PRSA awards in 2007 and 2006 for programs completed for “A Taste of Lahaina and the Best of Island Music” and Maui County Fine and Fresh, an agricultural promotion program for the administration of Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Foley, the recipient of the Greg W. Perry Professional of the Year Award given by PRSA Hawaii in 2006, is the founder of the Maui Affinity Group, an affiliate of PRSA Hawaii on the Valley Isle.

Bezane, a columnist for Lahaina News, last month won a journalism award of excellence from the Honolulu Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for his column called “Beyond the Beach.”