FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 24, 2006 Release M-46-06
JHUN AND SILVA NAMED
CITY’S TOP SENIOR VOLUNTEERS
Mayor Mufi Hannemann today (Monday, April 24, 2006) honored nearly a hundred of Honolulu’s top senior volunteers at the 40th Annual Mayor’s Senior Recognition Program, held at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.
Peter Jhun and Ruby Silva were named the Outstanding Male and Female Volunteers, respectively. Recipients of the Akamai Living Awards, also recognizing exemplary volunteer service, were Doris Ikenaga, Venus Holt, Dorothy Chock, Yolanda Padua, Narzal Concepcion, and Kikue Kaye Higuchi.
Hannemann said, “Honolulu is truly blessed to have so many senior volunteers who serve unselfishly to help those in need. We deeply appreciate all the ways they give from their hearts.
“This year’s event was also part of the Honolulu Centennial Celebration. The theme, ‘Extending Hands–Extending Lives: A Century of Volunteering,’ recognizes that volunteering benefits one’s health and well-being, while providing an invaluable service to the community and enriching our lives.”
Carole Kai was mistress of ceremonies. The program featured entertainment by Karen Keawehawaii, the Royal Hawaiian Band, and Makua Alii Singers.
The 40th Mayor’s Senior Recognition Program was produced by the Honolulu Committee on Aging and the Elderly Affairs Division of the City and County of Honolulu. The Hawaii Medical Service Association and Central Pacific Bank were principal sponsors.
Outstanding Male Volunteer
After suffering a stroke in 1985 and nursing himself back to health, Peter Jhun, 79, founded the Therapeutic Recreation Program at Kalakaua Gym for other stroke victims. He has 180 seniors under his wing. Jhun, also a boxing coach and referee, has constructed and adapted exercise equipment to help participants regain their strength, as well as invited children from low-income families to learn boxing and apply the training discipline to their lives. His nomination, by the City’s Kalakaua District Park, described him as “a symbol of hope and courage for the participants and their families who attend the program. He has built a place where judgment and shame are thrown out the door, a place where seniors can connect with others, where they concentrate on abilities rather than disabilities.”
Outstanding Female Volunteer
Ruby Silva, 74, is a caregiver extraordinaire, having done it full-time for 54 years for her parapalegic daughter and 10 years for her spouse, who suffered from a stroke. Both passed away in 2005. Even with these responsibilities, she was a caregiver for a 79-year-old mentally disabled man. Silva, who was nominated by the AARP Hawaii, holds three volunteer positions with the organization: West Oahu community team leader, advocacy hui team member, and information assistant. She is the community service chair for the Waianae AARP Chapter, coordinates the annual Waianae Food Bank drive, and volunteers for other Waianae Coast organizations. She was a champion of the AARP Hawaii’s affordable prescription drug campaign in 2004, and helped pass legislation creating the Hawaii Rx Plus program. She traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet President Bush and his staff and talk about the need for affordable prescription drugs.
Platinum Akamai Living Award
Doris Ikenaga, 75, was nominated by the State Executive Office on Aging’s Sage PLUS Program, where her volunteer service was described as “extremely dedicated, dependable, and committed to helping seniors.” Ikenaga also volunteers as a financial aid counselor at the University of Hawaii and at Wesley United Methodist Church. She was the sole caregiver for a widowed aunt for several years, and now shares caregiving responsibilities for a 96-year-old family member.
Gold Akamai Living Award
Venus Holt, 100, was nominated by Central Union Church, where she has visited with senior members of the church, neighbors in need, and members of the Retired Teachers Organization for more than 39 years. She helps seniors find transportation and assistance and, until two years ago, drove seniors who could not drive. Holt volunteers with the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Bishop Museum, and Punahou School and is a member of the Daughters of Hawaii, an organization perpetuating the legacy of Queen Emma. Her busy volunteer schedule is complemented by weekly swims in the ocean and eating healthy foods. She also received the City’s Centenarian Award.
Silver Akamai Living Award
Yolanda Padua, 70, was nominated by Kokua Kalihi Valley’s Elderly Program for her leadership and participation in activities that promote healthy and safety living. She assists neighbors in need of food, clothing, help with household chores, and medical and financial assistance. She has been dubbed an “ambassador” in the community because of her assistance to so many in need.
Silver Akamai Living Award
Dorothy Chock was nominated by the Sage PLUS Program as one of the “shining bright lights” who for the past eight years has been staffing the Sage PLUS hotline, answering questions from elders, their families, friends, or caregivers. The 76-year-old Chock was lauded for her considerable knowledge of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and elderly community resources, and for being a good listener and always willing to help callers. Chock makes presentations to community groups on these topics.
Bronze Akamai Living Award
In his retirement, Narzal Concepcion, 79, has devoted more than 13,500 hours of volunteer service to such groups as the Knights of Columbus, Filipino Community of Hawaii, and United FilAm Association of Hawaii. Narzal doubles as president of the World War II Filipino Veterans, lending a hand to his fellow veterans when they must be accompanied on their medical visits, to church, or on other activities. He was nominated by the Filipino Community of Hawaii.
Kikue Kaye Higuchi
Bronze Akamai Living Award
Kikue Kaye Higuchi, 80, was nominated by the Aiealani Seniors, where she volunteers regularly. Higuchi has spent more than 6,000 hours with that group, the Aiea Hongwanji Fujinkai, Aiea Community Association, and Mokoichi Okada Association. She keeps abreast of senior resources and community affairs and shares that information with fellow seniors. Higuchi was credited with believing “that caring and giving to others is rewarded through self-satisfaction” and has been described as an “Eveready battery bunny that never stops caring.”
May Fujii Foo, Department of Community Services, 523-4908 or