CHUN AND TOM NAMED HONOLULU’S TOP SENIOR VOLUNTEERS
Mayor Mufi Hannemann today honored 85 top senior citizen volunteers at the 41st Annual Mayor’s Senior Recognition Program before a capacity audience of family, friends and well-wishers at the Sheraton Waikiki.
Ken Chun and Caroline K.Y. Tom were named the 2007 Outstanding Male and Female Volunteers.
Receiving Akamai Living Awards for exemplary volunteer service were Beatrice Terumoto, Yukie Sakai, Ethel Yamane, Edward Medeiros and Dolores Bautista.
“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 help from their hearts,” said Mayor Hannemann. “These seniors represent the many who generously help others cope with life’s difficulties or assist organizations that deliver health care, recreational or social services.
“This year’s theme – Healthy Living by Sharing Aloha – recognizes that volunteering also benefits one’s health and well-being, while providing valuable service to the community,” said Hannemann.
KGMB news anchor Keahi Tucker was the MC for the event. The program featured entertainment by Melveen Leed, the Royal Hawaiian Band, the Makua Alii Singers and the Kokua Kalihi Valley Seniors.
The 41st Annual Mayor’s Senior Recognition Program was produced by the Honolulu Committee on Aging and the Elderly Affairs Division of the City Department of Community Services. The Hawaii Medical Service Association and First Hawaiian Bank were principal sponsors of the program.
Today’s winners are:
OUTSTANDING MALE VOLUNTEER – Ken Chun, age 86, nominated by Hawaii Meals on Wheels. Ken has been delivering weekly meals to homebound seniors for over 28 years. Once when he was delivering a meal on the 10th floor of a Waikiki building, he could hear someone moving inside, but no one came to the door. Ken quickly called the manager and when entry was made, they found the man on the floor. Another time, in the Kaheka area, an elderly woman did not answer the door. Ken quickly completed his delivery route and returned. The building caretaker did not have a pass key, so Ken contacted the woman’s sister and a locksmith was sent. The woman was in the bathroom and could not get out. Ken pulled her up and waited for help. Meal deliverers have the opportunity to save the lives of injured seniors, as they may be the only human contact for homebound elders who live alone. Not only does Ken volunteer for Hawaii Meals on Wheels, but he also has been volunteering for over 22 years as a first responder for Kuakini Hospital Lifeline and serves as the registrar for the Makiki District Park Senior Club’s many activities. Ken also helps Manoa Valley Church; Hospice Hawaii; Habitat for Humanity; Kamehameha, Iolani and Punahou schools, and Mid-Pacific Institute. He has helped recruit others to volunteer, including his children and grandchildren. Ken’s nominator says, “Ken’s remarkable volunteer record speaks for itself.”
OUTSTANDING FEMALE VOLUNTEER – Caroline K.Y. Tom, age 77, nominated by Council Member Rod Tam and Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center. Caroline not only takes time to accompany frail elders on shopping trips, she assists with the Lanakila Center’s front desk tasks and all the activities of the Chinese Cultural Club, planning programs for the members and interpreting for non-English speaking members. She served as co-chair of the center’s 35th anniversary and helped plan three of its annual senior proms. She is the center representative on the Medicare Beneficiary Advisory Committee, which informs seniors about changes in the Medicare program. Caroline has been the coordinator of Lanakila Center members’ visits to nursing homes, hospitals and adult day care programs. She is a line dancing instructor at the center and at Palama Settlement. Caroline also volunteers for the Hawaii Food Bank, Maluhia Hospital, Puunui Park, Mayor’s Cultural Festival and Craft Fair, Healthy Neighbor Project, and Pohulani and Malulani Hale Senior Housing. In 2006, she was named Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. Her nominator says, “If you ask Caroline why she volunteers, she is surprised. It’s like asking someone why they breathe. She volunteers because she loves helping people and because she can.”
PLATINUM AKAMAI LIVING AWARD – Beatrice Terumoto, age 80, nominated by the Ala Wai Community Park. As president of the Puu Wai Opio Pio Seniors Club, Beatrice maintains a sense of responsibility for the overall well-being of the members, many of whom are widowed and live alone. She checks on each of them regularly, making sure they are feeling well and getting to their medical appointments, and she supports other needs. She also serves as secretary of the Makua Alii Senior Center, assisting with numerous activities, and has been instrumental in making it one of Honolulu’s top clubs. Beatrice also serves on the Central Union Church Christian Ministries Committee, serving meals to the homeless. Her nominator says, “Beatrice’s can-do attitude is infectious; she always goes above and beyond what is asked of her.”
GOLD AKAMAI LIVING AWARD – Yukie Sakai, age 81, nominated by Project Dana. For over 16 years, Yukie has served as a volunteer caregiver for frail homebound clients. She provides respite services, transportation, cooking, housekeeping, laundry services, marketing, companionship and reads to the visually impaired. She escorts nursing home residents on outings. Yukie is also a member of the Bon Dance Club and teaches various dance steps to members so they can entertain nursing home patients. Yukie also helps her church with their food drive for the Hawaii Food Bank, and helps to make favors for patients at nursing homes. She volunteers for the Moanalua Senior Citizens Club and has been a volunteer usher at Fort Shafter Theater for the past 10 years. Yukie’s nominator says, “Yukie is an exemplary example of a volunteer caregiver who practices selfless giving.”
SILVER AKAMAI LIVING AWARD LIFETIME AWARD – Ethel Yamane, age 78, nominated by State Executive Office on Aging’s Sage PLUS Program. Ethel has been volunteering for the Sage PLUS program since 1995, answering questions from elders, their families, friends or caregivers. This not only requires a vast knowledge of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, other health care options, and elderly community resources, but requires one to be a good listener, have compassion, and have a willingness to help the callers with the problems they face. Ethel uses her knowledge to also do presentations to community groups. Ethel also serves as a docent for the State Judiciary, Courts and Corrections, escorting visitors, informing them of services available and how the judicial system works. She volunteers for the University of Hawaii School of Social Work, Hawaii Government Employee’s Association Retirees Unit, Kapiolani Women’s and Children Medical Center, Japanese Cultural Center and Mid-Pacific Institute.
BRONZE AKAMAI LIVING AWARD – Edward Medeiros, age 81, nominated by the Kailua Senior Citizens Club. Edward not only helps with all the club’s activities, but helps with transportation, grocery shopping and graffiti and beach cleanups. He’s a member of a choral group that entertains at care homes and at the airport. Edward also serves on the RSVP Advisory Board, and is a director of the Oahu Bowling Association. His nominator says, “Edward’s compassion for the organizations he belongs to enriches the lives of many.”
BRONZE AKAMAI LIVING AWARD – Dolores Bautista, age 68, nominated by Kokua Kalihi Valley Elderly Services Program. Dolores has been helping at Kokua Kalihi Valley Elder Center since the program began. She works tirelessly to assist people in need and is active in numerous community organizations. Dolores is an expert at finding resources for persons who need basic necessities such as food and clothing, and also helps with transportation and shopping. Along with providing care to a disabled son and neighbor, one of Dolores’ specialties is teaching dancing, helping seniors remain healthy and active. Her nominator says, “Dolores’ volunteer spirit is part and parcel of her character.”
May Foo, Department of Community Services Elderly Affairs Division, 768-7709