LahainaTown Action Committee presents two awards at meeting

The LahainaTown Action Committee presented its Volunteer and Business of the Year Awards during its annual meeting on Jan. 28 at the Pioneer Inn Courtyard in Lahaina. Hawaii Gelato was named 2018 Business of the Year, and Waiola Church was named 2018 Volunteer of the Year.

“Both recipients have gone above and beyond in supporting the events and initiatives of the LahainaTown Action Committee all year and are well-deserving of their respective awards,” said LAC Board President Snehal Patel. “These two organizations exemplify the kind of leadership it takes to build strong communities. . . . Waiola Church and its members served as a beacon of hope to many west side residents in need during the tragic Lahaina fires last year and this recognition serves as a reminder to the community of the church’s long-standing commitment to bettering the lives of west side residents.”

The meeting included a surprise address by Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino. He spoke about his connection to West Maui and his vision and goals for the region. At the meeting’s conclusion, the mayor and administration members participated in a talk-story forum in which the public asked questions and gave testimony regarding concerns facing Lahaina town and the west side community.

In his address, Patel shared that the organization was founded to stop a proposed closure to Front Street that would have caused harm to businesses and families, and that LAC continues to embody the spirit in which it was founded through its firm commitment to address the evolving challenges of the west side’s economic and cultural landscapes. To that end, LAC is seeking new membership and invites business, organizational and community members wishing to make a difference to reach out to the organization.

Patel announced the re-election of Ryan Beenken and George (Kapule) Paoa to the board for a three-year term.

The evening ended with a networking session that featured music by Maui Jam and pupu donated by Betty’s Beach Cafe, Kimo’s, Cool Cat Cafe, Captain Jack’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Down the Hatch, Hawaii Gelato, Honolulu Cookie Co., Lahaina Fish Co, Maui Pineapple Store, Surfside Pizza and the Pioneer Inn.