Lahainaluna graduates working as EMTs
LAHAINA – It is always a joy to learn about the successful pathways by the newest generation of the keiki of our village of Lahaina. In the case of Lahaina boy Michael Lloyd Akiona, however, that affection runs even deeper.
Young Akiona grew up across the street from us in the Mill Camp neighborhood adjacent to the old Pioneer Mill grounds.
Born to Lorene Akiona and Michael Casicas, Mikey Boy grew up with his kid sister, Audrey, bred with the down-to-earth values and Christian family ethics manifested in our community.
They attended Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate, and Lahainaluna High Schools with our kids to form the “Kuhua Camp Posse.” They played sports and competed on the championship football and softball teams that have become defining cultural learning programs of the West Side.
After graduating from Lahainaluna, Mikey decided to move to Oahu and enrolled at Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu. He missed his Maui life and endured some setbacks living in the “city,” but buoyed by his everlasting optimism and sense of humor, he gritted it out and graduated in 2015.
He soon enrolled in the EMT (emergency medical technician) program there and persevered in that training to earn his occupational license.
Mikey has always been inspired by EMTs, police officers (his dad was a Maui Police Department patrolman), and firefighters (several of his uncles worked on the Maui Fire Department), as well as Lahaina ambulance Team Leader Chris Gilbert in recent years.
After graduating from the EMT program and receiving accreditation, Akiona received more good news – he would take a position on his home island of Maui.
He was overjoyed and packed up his belongings and moved back home about a year ago to begin his professional career.
“It is really exciting to be able to be back home and be able to give back to the community that has given so much to me and my family,” he said.
“Every day when I go to work – normally I work 24- to 48-hour shifts all over the island – I never know what’s in store for me. We could be up all night, or we could get a good night’s sleep. But, most of the time it’s really exciting, and important things that happen out there.”
Another positive twist for Mikey comes in the presence of another EMT team leader with Lahainaluna roots. He often works with Jacob Boteilho, who was a boarding student at Lahainaluna and also a standout linebacker for the Luna football team.
“It is a great experience to work with Jacob and with Chris (Gilbert). They are both terrific inspirations for me,” Akiona concluded.