LIHUE — “Volunteers: A Gift to the Community” was the theme of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program recognition Friday at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort.
Gerald Ako, representing U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono in applauding the efforts of Kauai’s RSVP, said 300 volunteers contribute more than 30,000 hours of service to the people of Kauai.
“I’m halfway there,” said Clyde Kodani, representing U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. “I’m not retired yet. But I am a senior citizen.”
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said volunteers are a microcosm of America: diverse, with different backgrounds, different experiences and different interests.
“All of our volunteers have at least one thing in common — the willingness to give from their heart to help others,” Carvalho said. “RSVP is a steadfast group determined to give whatever they can for as long as they are able. And we truly appreciate and value your tremendous service.”
Emma Sharrar, 95, was not able to accept her Living Treasures Award, one of two presented. Sandy Gage accepted the award on her behalf.
The second Living Treasures Award went to Misao Tamura, a centenarian who still volunteers as a demonstrator for seated tai chi with his daughter, Winnie Tamura-Lis, at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center.
Michiye Funaku has served 4,068 lifetime volunteer hours over the past 19 years, earning her the Lifetime Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her work at the Governor’s Office information desk, and at the Wilcox Hospital Thrift Store.
Margaret McGinty, an active volunteer at the National Tropical Botanical Garden since June 2007, received the Gold Presidential Service Volunteer Award for accumulating 1,232 hours this year.
Other notable recognitions included Lillian Takiguchi, receiving acknowledgment for her 30 years of service; and Nancy Harada and Marie Petro, who were both honored for their 25 years of service.
Other honorees included six people with 20 years of service; 12 individuals marking 10 years of service; 17 people with 15 years of service; and eight people, including Jean Dobashi, who delivered the invocation, with five years of service.
In addition to the volunteers, the volunteer stations also earned accolades. Those include Kauai Habitat for Humanity, NTBG, Child and Family Service/Nana’s House, Kauai Adult Day Health, Wilcox Medical Center, Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, Hanapepe United Church of Christ, Loaves and Fishes at St. Michael and All Angels’ Episcopal Church, The Lihue and Hanapepe corps of The Salvation Army, state Department of Education, state Executive Office on Aging-Senior Medicare Patrol, Kauai Economic Opportunity, the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, Kauai Hospice and Makauwahi Caves.