HANA - Rick Rutiz, the founder of a nationally recognized youth training program in Hana, has been honored with the Tiny Malaikini Mea Kokua Award.
His award was announced at the beginning of Hana's Aloha Festivals celebration earlier this month. The Tiny Malaikini Mea Kokua Award gives annual recognition to an individual who gives "most selflessly for the good of the community."
Last year's honoree, Lehua Cosma, cited Rutiz for his outstanding work with young people. "We have benefited from his generosity," Cosma said, "his vision and his hard work. . . . He has truly made a difference in our lives."
Rutiz established Ma Ka Hana Ka 'Ike (in working, one learns) in the fall of 2000.
Its mission is to meet the needs of at-risk high school students by teaching them construction trades while simultaneously providing the East Maui community with much-needed facilities and structure repairs.
Presented each year since 1992, the Malaikini award is given in honor of the memory of one of Hana's favorite sons, the late Viewed Paniani "Tiny" Malaikini.