Music, dance, food and fun mark seniors’ 40 years of community service
LAHAINA — More than 300 members, their guests and dignitaries from Maui and throughout Hawaii came together to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lahaina-Honolua Senior Citizens Club on Thursday, March 18.
The special, entertainment-filled event was held at Lahaina Civic Center.
Club members were the stars of the program, which included performances by the Na Kupuna ‘Ohana dancers, Obachans (grandmothers in Japanese) and the senior Serenaders.
Adding to the entertainment was a guest appearance by legendary Eddie Kamae from Sons of Hawaii fame.
“He has been supportive of our work for years,” said club President May Fujiwara, “and it was such a treat to have him with us again.”
Among the dignitaries congratulating the seniors at this milestone event were Mayor Charmaine Tavares and members of her administration; former Maui Mayors Alan Arakawa and James “Kimo” Apana; Maui County Council members Gladys Baisa, Jo Anne Johnson, Bill Medeiros, Michael Molina, Joseph Pontanilla and Michael Victorino; State Sen. Robert Bunda; and George Kaya, Maui liaison for Gov. Linda Lingle.
Also on hand were Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and former Congressman Neil Abercrombie, an announced candidate for governor.
Mayor Tavares praised the seniors and announced that the county has obtained federal stimulus funds to add to the West Maui Senior Center a 20-kilowatt solar energy system that will save 800 barrels of oil a year.
Tavares noted that “we have tried very hard to keep our budget intact for seniors.”
Hannemann praised the senior center for its "outstanding reputation in the state" and told the senior citizens "you deserve every break the government can give you."
Abercrombie said the club deserves “a giant mahalo for all the wonderful things you do that embody the spirit of aloha. You stand up for people’s rights and diversity and deserve living out your lives with dignity and purpose.”
Fujiwara, the recipient of many accolades and president of the club since 1996, noted that the sumptuous feast provided by a local caterer would be served by local police officers and firemen.
The firemen left to go out on a call, but “the police will serve you — they are not here on a raid,” President Fujiwara quipped.
The Lahaina-Honolua Senior Citizens Club is involved in a broad array of activities to help the West Side community.
They lobbied for the West Maui Hospital & Medical Center (now approved and pending construction) and make and sell beautiful lei each week on the Baldwin Home lawn to support scholarships for Lahainaluna High School’s Health Pathway Class.
“Our seniors have consistently made a real difference here on Maui through testifying before budget hearings to ensure services are provided for our community, extraordinary commitment to volunteer work, including school tutoring programs under the directorship of Pat and Richard Endsley and membership in the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and more,” said Fujiwara.
She added that the West Maui Senior Center — the site for many community meetings — is the result of the hard work of the Lahaina-Honolua Senior Citizens Club.
“We would never have this facility that offers so many services to our seniors — including exercise programs, hula lessons and arts and crafts — without the lobbying efforts of our members.”
Club members are at least 55 years of age. Those interested in joining can call 661-9432 or just stop by the Kaunoa West Maui Senior Center, 788 Pauoa St., on weekdays.
A movie of the many dignitaries and guests attending the celebration can be viewed on YouTube by searching “Lahaina Seniors 2010.”