Scout’s dream to coordinate run

LIHU’E — Under gray clouds and a light rain early Saturday morning, Kaua’i

Police Department sergeant Paul Kanoho ushered a busload of runners into the

First Hawaiian Bank’s driveway where a line of registrars and a table of

pre-run refreshments awaited them before the kickoff of the Troy Barboza

Memorial Run.

This event, named after a fallen Honolulu Police Department

officer, has become synonymous with the kickoff of the annual Kaua’i Area

Special Olympics, and on April 7, the event was made special for not only

participating Olympians, but also for one senior Girl Scout from Troop 953

sponsored by the Lihue Christian Church. Jill Dobashi, a Kaua’i High student

working on the coveted Gold Award, coordinated the whole event herself.

And

it has taken Jill 13 years to get to this point, mom Jean explained.

“Jill

was in kindergarten when she saw a sign-up booth for the Girl Scouts,” Jean

said. “But, when they went to sign Jill up for the program, the recruiters

turned her down.”

Sadly, the 5-year-old withdrew to the shelter of the

family Volkswagen, and once within the safety of its shell, broke down in

tears.

“You only help the boys,” Jill sobbed.

This was the first step

for the Myron Dobashi family who persisted in getting young Jill enrolled in

the Girl Scouting program.

“You’re not going to give up,” Jean said to the

disheartened youngster, who finally succeeded in becoming a Daisy Scout, the

first step in the stairway leading to the Gold Award, the Girl Scouts’

equivalent to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle.

As the rain continued to wet the

streets, another busload of runners arrived, and Jill joined Sgt. Kanoho as the

pair introduced Nancy Botello, Executive Director for the Special Olympics.

Bicycle police officers who would join a flotilla of KPD vehicles

accompanying the walker-runners returned from their warm-up run down the

anticipated Rice Street course leading to Vidinha Stadium, and once logistics

of the run were ironed out with the group of runners that included early risers

from the Kaua’i High School girls’ basketball team that had suffered defeat at

the hands of the Kapa’a High School team the night before. That did not deter

their appearance to help a fellow student.

Kaua’i Police Department

officers, their family and friends, and employees of First Hawaiian Bank, one

of the primary sponsors of the Troy Barboza Run as well as the Special Olympics

left the Rice Street driveway under the eyes of Zack Octavio, Kaua’i Island

manager for American Medical Response (AMR), one shift from the Lihu’e Fire

Station who brought their tanker up to the bank location, and a representative

from the REACT force.

As KPD Sgt. Kaleo Perez and ARC Special Olympian Ken

Tazaki brought the caldron to life with the flame from the Special Olympics

torch, Jill Dobashi was introduced as this day’s event coordinator to the

applause of volunteers from the Hyatt Regency Resort, as well as numerous

student organizations from the high schools.

Father Christopher Keahi of

the Holy Cross Church in Kalaheo gave thanks for the cool conditions that would

keep competitors comfortable while achieving their feats of

accomplishments.

Members of the Lifetime Band from the Kaua’i Community

Correctional Center (KCCC) watched quietly as they sought shelter from the rain

while awaiting their cue.

As flocks of pigeons winged their way into a

sweeping formation over the field of volunteers and Olympians, Jean said

quietly, “This is her Gold Award project.”

Jerry Gibson, manager for the

Hyatt Regency who had turned out over fifty volunteers for this annual event,

smiled approvingly.

Garbed in a lei over her gray-brown Troy Barboza tee

shirt commemorating the event, Jill was engrossed in last-minute conferences

with teams involved with timing and measuring Olympians’ accomplishments in

events such as the Running Long Jump, Standing Long Jump, the 25-meter Assisted

Walk, the 25-meter Wheelchair race, and other events.

Shannon Morgado of

the Hyatt juggled between her corps of resort volunteers and the sweat-suited

group of Kaua’i High School cheerleaders who had assembled as the announcer

made the initial calls for athletes to their stations.

Across the sodden

track, Miss Kaua’i 2000 Lachelle Yasutake’s radiance broke through the gloomy

morning conditions as she made her way to the podium where the ribbons would be

presented. She, too, had come from attending the basketball game the night

before.

Erinn Gonzales, one of the contestants for the Miss Kaua’i 2000

pageant, helped in the standing jump area with a smile as radiant as any

queen’s.

Off to the left side of the bleachers, cheering football players

garbed in their workout jerseys filled a section as head coach Keli’i Morgado

watched in approval. Cathy Agoot, giving the mayor’s proclamation and message

for Kaua’i mayor Maryanne Kusaka found a dry spot and settled in to watch the

competition before her next appointment as Jerry Jona, Special Olympics Kaua’i

Area Director, double checked the measurements on the track.

“They (the

Olympians) look forward to this event,” one of the coaches said between

events. They really appreciate the turnout and support, he said. This special

support is carried one step further by the Kaua’i High School athletic program

who allows Red Raider Olympians to don the track outfits worn by KIF

competitors. High above the field of events, a group of Waimea High School

cheer squad members waited for the events to start as they made time to help

cheer athletes in competition before attending to preparations for their prom

that night. As the starter’s gun resounded in the morning quiet, Jean explained

that Jill had divided her time between her studies, her duties as Miss Veteran,

an honor bestowed upon her by the Kaua’i Veterans Council, and this project

that had her attending meetings on O’ahu as well as making arrangements

locally.

The long journey leading to the Kaua’i Area meet had taught Jill

— herself an athlete for the Kaua’i High School athletic program — the

mission of the program, which is to provide year-round sports training and

athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and

adults with mental retardation, giving them continuing opportunities to develop

physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a

sharing of gifts, skills, and friendships with their families, other Special

Olympians, and the community.

“She (Jill)’s not the only one working on a

Gold Award Project,” Jean said. “Her friend Erin Yaguchi who is helping with

tee shirt and car wash sales outside, will be having her project later in the

month when she spearheads the dinner recognizing academic achievers at Kaua’i

High School.”

Jill was busy.

With the event in full swing, cheers

broke through the chilly morning winds as the senior Girl Scout shuttled

between groups staging competitors, event recorders, event stations, and the

presentation area where smiles broke through the cold as athletes received

their ribbons from Miss Kaua’i.

And, in the event that Jill forgot

something in putting together this event that featured hundreds of volunteers

and close to fifty Special Olympians from all parts of the island, Jean said,

“Cory (Jill’s brother) typed the program.”

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