PUHI — Jensen Mabini, 9, and Junior Ramawag, 5, were greeted with a surprise when they went to visit Puhi Park Saturday.
“We come here all the time,” said Mabini, a Wilcox Elementary School student. “After school, we come to play, and on weekends, almost every day, we come.” The pair were greeted by 27 members of the East Kauai Lions Club, who had converged on the popular gathering place before many of the children in the neighboring community had risen.
Working under the Weinberg Foundation’s Partnership Grant, members of the East Kauai Lions Club set out to give the park a major sprucing up.
The project involved painting over graffiti on the pavilion walls, repainting the restrooms and baseball dugouts, and power- washing the tennis courts.
Lion Roy Nishida pointed out that, through the efforts of Lion Roy Tanaka, the project was expanded to include the replacement of rotting lumber on the picnic tables as well.
Lion Ron Garlie, the project manager, joked with the organization members during the briefing session, “And, only if you have time, you can paint the backboards in the basketball court. That is, if you have time.” The Weinberg Foundation’s Partnership Grant provides for the Lions to be recipients of a grant in exchange for the community- service project.
Nishida said that this year’s recipient of the grant is officials of the Kauai Food Bank, who will receive $10,000 once the project is approved. This is the third year the Lions have worked with Weinberg Foundation to benefit community nonprofit organizations, Nishida said.
Kaua‘i Hospice officials were the beneficiary of the first project, Nishida remembers. Other beneficiaries include those with the ARC of Kauai, and the Teen Court program of Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i, Inc. Nishida added that Lions have already been informed that they can look ahead to next year’s project to benefit another organization.
Lion Steven Fujii was trying to determine how he was going to be able to help and still make his senior softball game.
“Don’t worry,” Garlie said. “We’ll still be here when your game is over. Just come back.” Preparation for the project started as early as Thursday, when Garlie showed up to power-wash the bathrooms in preparation for the repainting Saturday.
Lion Mike Furukawa noted that it was only by coming to help on Thursday that he could see how the small park is heavily used.
Nishida pointed out that County of Kaua‘i officials provided the lumber and paint, with the Lions providing the labor and other supplies. However, based on the scope of the project, Nishida estimates that park users will get a cleaned-up park, with county leaders saving an estimated $20,000.
Next on the calendar for the club members is their annual pancake breakfast on March 6 at Wilcox Elementary School starting at 6:30 a.m. Tickets for this popular event is available by contacting any of the East Kauai Lions Club members.
This will be followed by the state convention here on Kaua‘i, Nishida said.
Kelvin Moniz is president of the East Kauai Lions Club, which has 45 members, and whose members also oversee activities of the Leo Club at Kaua‘i High School.
- Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org