Na Hoaloha recognizes volunteers with ‘hats off’ themed event

As shown in the photo, Kathy Collins is wearing a WWI helmet belonging to Marilyn Heichemer’s father, David T. Lewis Sr., in the 42nd Infantry Division, known as the “Rainbow Division,” of 117th Engineer Regiment. The top of the helmet bears an indent as a result of warfare in the trenches of France. Ninety-year-old Heichemer (right) is patriotic in her red, white and blue haku lei brimmed hat.

Na Hoaloha celebrated National Volunteer Month with its annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon on April 10 at the King Kamehameha Golf Club with 120 volunteers, participants and community service providers in attendance.

Kathy Collins, mistress of ceremony for the event, showcased the theme, “Hats Off to Volunteers” by wearing a variety of headdress and hat options throughout the day.

The opening blessing and chant were presented by kumu Kapono Kamaunu. Among the guests for the luncheon were leaders of community and service organizations. Deidre Tegarden, chief of staff for Mayor Michael Victorino, spoke about the importance of volunteerism for Maui community.

Awards were presented to 18 volunteers who had demonstrated excellence in service delivery to kupuna throughout Maui County with friendly visits, escorted transportation, reassuring telephone calls and respite for caregivers. Both Precila Peros, a volunteer since the founding of Na Hoaloha in 1994, and George Gonzalez, who contributed almost 700 hours of volunteer services over the last year, received special recognition for providing compassionate care to kupuna.

Volunteers credited with more than 200 hours of volunteer service during 2018 were Jeannie Brew, Joanna Barnes, Florence Gapsis, Teresa Massoth and Jo Reyes, another original volunteer with the organization. To express the importance of their role in helping kupuna live independently and enhance the quality of their lives while aging in place, volunteers who provided more than 100 hours of service were presented with a sterling silver key.

“This year’s theme is about recognizing the many hats we all wear in our daily lives and still manage to find time to put on a ‘compassionate, caring, volunteer hat,’ “ said Judy Guajardo, volunteer coordinator for Na Hoaloha. “Volunteers are the key to the success of the organization.”

For more information on how to become part of this organization or to make contributions in support of the programs, contact (808) 249-2545 or