People who made a difference

Most of the individuals and groups selected for The Maui News 2013 People Who Made a Difference have a definite green tint, making a difference in preserving the environment in which Maui County residents live, work and play.

Maui ranchers and farmers have collaborated to become moth breeders, Madagascan fireweed moths, to be exact. Since March, they received more than 2,500 moths and larvae in a battle against the non-native toxic fireweed that can kill livestock and steals water and nutrients from other plants.

West Maui Kumuwai is working to save diminishing coral off west side shores a backyard at a time. The group is championing the building of rain gardens to filter and prevent runoff that may contain pollutants harmful to reefs from reaching the ocean. The group is currently engaged in a publicity campaign to have island stores label fertilizers that are less harmful to ocean life.

Mervin “Uncle Merv” Dudoit, 71, helps care for two Hawaiian fishponds on Molokai. He can be seen clearing mangrove and invasive seaweed and mentoring young interns or volunteers to pass on the knowledge of the old ways of food gathering.

The other two difference makers this year have made their marks in the community in other ways. The husband-and-wife team of Dennis Burns and Suzanne Burry established Valley Isle Animal Rescue to respond to police calls of injured or lost animals after hours when the Maui Humane Society is not available.

Jack Breen, the unofficial founding father of the Maui Rugby Union, has helped Maui athletes obtain college scholarships and opportunities to play abroad and possibly with the U.S. Olympic team in 2016.


* 2012: Rotary Club of Lahaina, Rick Cowan and the Maui Friends of the Library; Maui Economic Development Board; Archie Kalepa; Andrea Maniago; Fred Ruge. * 2011: Keith Regan and Lynn Araki-Regan; Steve Colflesh, Albert Paschoal and Mike Kahale; volunteers with the Lanai Native Species Recovery Project; Brian Kohne; Janna Hoehn; Dr. Melvin Burton; Honokowai Kauhale residents * 2010: Spencer Shiraishi, Kenji Kawaguchi, Garner Ivey and Warren Shimabukuro; Jon and Maile Viela; Joanne and Larry Laird; Keola Eharis Rogat and Richard “Noosh” Nishihara; Phoenix Dupree and 16 other Lanai residents * 2009: Lance Collins and David Gierlach; Lehua Park Cosma; Pualani Enos; Dr. William Kepler; Phyllis McOmber; Brian Moto; Darrell Tanaka and Brian Yoshikawa * 2008: John Cadman; Val Vines Magee; Maui Police Department juvenile investigators; Tim Ellison, Ben Tolentino and Polli’s Mexican Restaurant; Kent Smith and Hilton Unemori; Joe Pluta and West Maui Improvement Foundation; Aloha House Crisis Mobile Outreach team; David “Buddy” Nobriga * 2007: Dr. Lee Miyasato, Dr. Chris Neal and Dr. Ronald Boyd, Maui Memorial Medical Center stroke specialists; Ke’eaumoku and U’ilani Kapu; Randy Awo, Hokulani Holt; Save Honolua Coalition; Maui Long Term Care Partnership * 2006: Lillian Murakami; Maui County firefighters; Jo-Ann Ridao; Bob and Lis Richardson; the Feline Foundation of Maui; Brian Yoshikawa; Dorvin and Betty Leis; DeGray Vanderbilt * 2005: Dennis Ishii; Maui Police Department Lahaina Patrol Specialized Unit; Maui Fire Department; Kahekili Terrace Resident Patrol; Byron Ooka * 2004: Maui Police Department Juvenile Section; Kula Community Association; Anna Palomino; police officer Joshua Haglan and Capt. Charles Hirata; Clifford Nae’ole; Community Prosecutor Jerrie Sheppard and the Kalama Park Action Team; Omaopio-Pulehu Neighbors; Lisa Texeira; Virginia Brown and the 411th Battalion Family Readiness Group n 2003: Alex Baker; Dale Bonar and Maui Coastal Land Trust; Blossom Feiteira, Kehaulani Filimoe’atu and Hawaii Community Assets; Auriol and Ed Flavell; Jane Kaleikini; Nick Krau; Sam Millington; Lisa Schattenburg-Raymond and Maui Nui Botanical Gardens * 2002: Jan Dapitan; Pat and Richard Endsley; Bernard “Lono” Kalawaia Kaina; Matthew Lopez; Maui County Charter Commission; Barry Shannnon and Kathy Collins; Maui Outdoor Circle * 2001: David Garner; Vernon Gosney; Christina Hemming; Paul Kauhane Luuwai; Art Medeiros; Fred Rohlfing and Madge Schaefer; Rick Rutiz; South Maui Citizens patrol * 2000: Willie Nelson; Frank Sinenci; Turtle Patrol volunteers; Maui Police Department Visitor Oriented Policing Unit; Lynn Araki; Chris Cowan and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center staff; Boyd Kleefisch; Judy and David Mikami * 1999: Alliance for the Heritage of East Maui; Dana Naone Hall and Isaac Hall; Kalama Intermediate Student Council; Ryan Luskin; Ken Nakayama and the Molokai High School baseball team; Roy Tokujo and ‘Ulalena; Mercer “Chubby” Vicens n 1998: Akaku: Maui Community Television staff and producers; Kim Ball; Cynthia Conrad; Jerry Labb; Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom and Willie K.; David Goode; Barbara Knoeppel; Diane Lee; Linda Lingle; Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. * 1997: Lt. Charles Hirata and DUI Task Force; Leonard “Bully” Kapahulehua; Brian McCafferty; Randy Morton; Wes Friewald; Cathrine Puahala; Barry Rivers * 1996: Hannah Bernard; Holy Ghost Bread Ladies; Curt Hodge; Buck Joiner; Judges Boyd Mossman, E. John McConnnell and Shackley Raffetto; Sandra Shawhan * 1995: Aimee Anderson; Alan Arakawa; Mike Boughton; Mary Evanson; Greg Davis; Yvonne Friel; Keali’i Reichel; Ernie Rezents; Susan Scofield * 1994: Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli; Dr. Bobby Baker; Virgie Cantorna; Shay Chan; Walter Dodds Jr.; Everett Dowling; Kaui Doyle; Ian and Marc Hodges; Charles Jencks; Anthony Ranken; Dr. Rick Sands; Joseph Sugarman; Art Vento; Masaru “Pundy” Yokouchi.