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Torres named a ‘Na Hoku O’ Ka‘anapali’

By Staff | Jul 11, 2019

When he’s not working or volunteering, you’ll likely find Fred Torres at the Ka‘anapali Golf Courses, promoting his training aid invention recently introduced to the PGA world this past January. His invention was awarded a patent in March 2017. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE BRINKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY. 

KAANAPALI – Fred Torres, hotel operations manager at Kaanapali Alii, has been named by the Kaanapali Beach Resort Association as a “Na Hoku O’ Ka’anapali.”

Torres is one of many “shining stars” who act as ambassadors of KBRA’s campaign launched in July 2018.

It highlights Kaanapali’s best and brightest individuals and shares their stories to increase the public’s understanding and interest in this dynamic area.

As operations manager, Torres oversees seven department managers along with their respective employees, more than 100 people in all.

Along with his daily duties responding to owners’, guests’ and employees’ needs, he also fulfills the important role of Hawaiian cultural advisor for the resort, sharing Hawaiian values and language, telling stories and giving ukulele lessons.

In 2010, Torres started the annual “First Light E ala e! Hi’uwai,” which takes place on New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday on the beach in front of the Kaanapali Alii.

In the stillness before dawn, Torres leads guests and the public through this purification ritual, wading into the warm ocean while releasing problems and stress.

His greatest “chicken skin moment” came during the very first Hi’uwai, when the beach glistened with a blue moon set over the ocean. After the ceremony, a gentleman approached Torres with tears flowing down his face and thanked him for the healing, which he said he needed greatly after losing his mother, grandmother and wife.

It’s those kind of moments that would make Torres’s own mother proud.

As a widow raising four boys in housing in Kalihi, Oahu, she always taught her sons the importance of caring for other people and having a heart filled with aloha. Maybe that’s why Torres’s 30-year career has always centered on hospitality.

His first job at age 17 was as a steward (dishwasher) at the Halekulani luxury hotel in Waikiki. Just a year later, he was promoted to Honor Bar manager, overseeing six employees.

His career expanded from there to include resorts like Sheraton, Westin, Kaimana Beach Hotel, and The Ritz-Carlton, in management positions such as food and beverage cost controller, chief steward, food and beverage analyst, human resources manager, employee relations manager, assistant director of human resources, and corporate director of human resources.

Over the past ten years, he has been both a student and teacher of Hawaiian cultural practices, studying chant and culture with some of Hawaii’s leading kumu.

He was instrumental in the development of a “Hawaiian Sense of Place” program in continuing education and training at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

Torres loves to make a difference in his work at the Kaanapali Alii, whether providing “what to do” information to guests, resolving an issue or complaint, talking story to newcomers or giving an ukulele lesson.

Sharing ukulele music is one of his favorite ways to reach out to the community, especially during weekly volunteerism at Hale Makua in Wailuku.

He has also been known to give away the T-shirt off his back, plus another 120 dozen! In 2014, Torres owned a T-shirt company called BraddahMan. After seeing a segment on the news about giving to the homeless through the Lokahi Program, he donated his entire inventory.

Following the “work hard, play harder” philosophy of his mentor Chip Bahouth, Torres enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, his son Pomaika’i and his two granddaughters, Laci-Mae and Kayli-Sky Torres.

“Fred Torres is an outstanding example of one of our Na Hoku O’ Ka’anapali,” said KBRA Executive Director Shelley Kekuna. “He is dedicated to service, promotes excellence in himself and others, and has a generous and giving spirit in all he does.”

Na Hoku O’ Ka’anapali embody several essential qualities: they are well-respected in the Kaanapali community; they are 100-percent committed to serving the area; and they are at the top of their game in their professional fields. They are also fascinating individuals with unique interests, and their respect for Hawaiian culture runs deep.

For more information about the Na? Hoku O’ Ka’anapali program, e-mail charlene@kauhaneinc.com.