LAC honors Hawaii Gelato, Waiola Church at Annual Meeting
LAHAINA – With over 100 in attendance, it was a banner night at the LahainaTown Action Committee (LAC) Annual Meeting held on Monday, Jan. 28, in the courtyard of the historic Pioneer Inn.
The entertainment was provided by Maui Jam, and refreshments were generously donated by Betty’s Beach Cafe, Kimo’s, Cool Cats, Captain Jack’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Down the Hatch, Hawaii Gelato, Honolulu Cookie Company, Lahaina Fish Co., Maui Pineapple Store, Surfside Pizza and the Pioneer Inn.
“The evening marked the organization’s 30 years in action fostering the historical, cultural and commercial vitality of its treasured town and the greater West Maui community,” a press release announced.
Newly elected Mayor Mike Victorino joined the celebration acknowledging his close ties with the West Side and the importance of the LAC.
“The LahainaTown Action Committee connects residents, businesses and organizations to collaborate on issues important to West Maui and helps create solutions to make our community a better place,” Mayor Victorino affirmed.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards by LAC President Snehal Patel to the Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
Receiving the honor for Business of the Year was Hawaii Gelato; Waiola Church was recognized as Volunteer of the Year.
“Both recipients have gone above and beyond in supporting the events and initiatives of The LahainaTown Action Committee all year and are well deserving of their respective awards,” Patel observed.
They exemplify, Patel added, “the kind of leadership it takes to build strong communities.”
Roxie Brandel is the owner of Hawaii Gelato. Patel extolled her qualities as a hands-on owner, building her business from the ground up: “She uses locally sourced ingredients, whenever possible, and makes her gelato right here on Maui. She is usually the last to leave at the end of the night, helping her staff clean up and shutdown the store.
“She is always one of the first sponsors for many of our major events and gives gift certificates throughout the year for school silent auctions and other charitable causes. She understands the need to run a sustainable business that treats their employees like family and gives back to the community in which it operates.”
During the devastating fires suffered last August during Hurricane Lane, Patel described, “Waiola Church and its members served as a beacon of hope to many West Side residents.”
The recognition by the LAC, Patel continued, “serves as a reminder to the community of the church’s long-standing commitment to bettering the lives of West Side residents.”
Jen Mather accepted the Waiola Church plaque.
“We are honored to be recognized, but the consensus is that the recognition should be shared with all of the dedicated volunteers who came out over three weeks to make sure our community was well-cared-for.
“We also shared the load with our friends over at Lahaina Baptist Church, led by Pastor Jay Wright, and the Kapu ‘Ohana at Na Aikane. No one person or organization did more than another, and we are a strengthened community because we know when to lean in,” Mather explained.
Other than President Patel, the LAC is led by a strong force of volunteer directors, including Jack Starr, vice president; Tambara Garrick, treasurer; Ryan Beenken, secretary; and Directors Mousa Hassan, Angus McKelvey, Sean Corpuel, John Cote and Kapule Paoa. Joan McKelvey is president emeritus.
Garrick is proud to be an active member.
“Many of the events that are put on by the LahainaTown Action Committee are treasured by both residents and visitors alike and offer opportunities for Maui’s performers, crafters and artisans to showcase their talents.
“The Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival, Whale & Ocean Arts Festival, Banyan Tree Birthday Celebration and the annual Lahaina Town Cleanup are just a few of the events produced by LahainaTown Action Committee that contribute to the uniqueness of our special town,” Garrick said.