A recent Thanksgiving tradition is continuing for Lanai residents, with the delivery of 850 pies to the island by air and sea this week.
Even though they moved from Lanai to Oahu in June, Rochelle Kalehuawehe and her husband, Scott, organized the pie fundraiser for the Lanai PONO Girls Softball organization that they started.
"We still help as much as we can," said Rochelle Kalehuawehe. "We still advocate and do what we can to raise funds for the girls."
Pilot Bobby Hill’s Cessna 172 single-engine plane was loaded from floor to ceiling with 355 custard pies that he flew to Lanai on Tuesday in time for Thanksgiving.
At the same time, the fundraiser provides Lanai residents with Thanksgiving pies that haven't been readily available for purchase on the island with only a resort bakery.
For the third Thanksgiving in a row, pilot Bobby Hill helped deliver the pies, fitting all 355 custard pies in a Cessna 172 single-engine plane Tuesday afternoon. Hill is one of three members of the Maui Skyhawks corporation, which owns the plane.
The pies were in shopping bags stacked in the plane.
"We went floor to ceiling," said Hill, who volunteered his services for the third Thanksgiving in a row.
"I love the people on Lanai," said Hill, executive director of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center and a retired police lieutenant who formerly commanded the Lanai Patrol District.
The pumpkin and apple pies went by Expeditions ferry to Lanai.
In contrast to the last two years when he made more than one trip and winds buffeted the airplane as he made some trips after sunset, Hill said the weather was calm this year.
"It was beautiful," he said.
Kalehuawehe said selling the Thanksgiving pies is one of two main fundraisers for the Lanai girls softball organization, which held its fourth annual Lanai PONO Girls Softball tournament in October.
The two fundraisers generate $7,000 to $8,000 to cover expenses for the organization, which started with about 15 girls and has grown to include 56 this year, she said.
The teams are under the Maui-based nonprofit All Pono Organization established by Maui residents Jon and Maile Viela in honor of their son, Pono, who died in an all-terrain vehicle accident in 2004.
After starting the Lanai softball organization four years ago, with Scott Kalehuawehe as head coach and Rochelle Kalehuawehe as financial officer, she said the couple feel obligated to continue being involved. He organized the tournament this year, despite the difficulties because he was on Oahu.
"We didn't just want to abandon the organization," she said. "The Lanai parents and the girls got attached to my husband. He didn't want to abandon the girls and the parents."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.