Kaua‘i couple feted as outstanding seniors

NUKOLI‘I — It’s been quite a year for “retired” Judge Alfred Laureta.

Yes, he has retired as a judge, but not from life.

Earlier this year, he was elected to a seat on the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors, for a three-year term.

Yesterday, he made more history, as he and wife Evelyn Laureta became the first-ever husband-and-wife team to sweep the Kaua‘i outstanding senior citizens awards in ceremonies at the Kauai Beach Hotel & Resort.

On a much more somber note, Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste asked for a moment of silence for two people missing in ocean waters off Kaua‘i and presumed dead, individuals who will never enjoy the joys of living to be older.

The moment of respect preceded the mayor’s remarks at the 40th Annual Older Americans Award Recognition Ceremony.

“This is a time to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of good people doing good things in life,” Baptiste told the gathering.

“The nominators felt that the accomplishments of the nominees for the 2006 Outstanding Older Americans (awards) are above and beyond the normal.”

Baptiste, in taking to heart some of the data presented by keynote speaker Dr. Dileep Bal, Kaua‘i district health officer with the state Department of Health, promised he would work with the state and other government agencies to keep improving things for the elderly on the island.

“I would like to ask you to give a round of applause to the staff of the Offices of Community Assistance Agency on Elderly Affairs, who do a good job with whatever they have,” Baptiste said in acknowledging the efforts of the staff in coordinating the annual get-together.

Alfred Laureta and Evelyn Laureta were announced by Baptiste as Kaua‘i’s 2006 Older American Award winners, the male and female recipients, respectively, after each nominee was introduced to the audience.

The awardees were selected by a judging panel consisting of Cyndi Ayonon, Rita De Silva and Joe Neil, from a field of nine nominees presented by representatives from various community agencies.

Nominees for this year’s awards were Nieves Antonio, Francisca Loniza, Charles Moriguchi, Katsumi Oyama, Dr. Monroe Richman, Jacquelyn Schoening and Nobue Watanabe.

Alfred Laureta was nominated by Jiro Yukimura of the East Kauai Y’s Men’s Club. A retired federal district judge, Laureta has served on the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Hawai‘i State Board of Health, and Wilcox Hospital’s Committee on Ethics and Review.

Additionally, he has served on the board of directors of the Kauai Government Employees Federal Credit Union, and the Association for Retarded Citizens of Kaua‘i, states a press release about the awardee from the county’s Agency on Elderly Affairs.

Alfred Laureta has devoted many hours to the East Kaua‘i Y’s Men’s Club, the service club of the YMCA of Kaua‘i. He has volunteered his time to support various projects throughout the years, including improvement projects at Camp Naue, helping at Kids to Camp project, and assisting at the YMCA Annual Youth Run.

Alfred and Evelyn Laureta are members of St. Catherine Church in Kapa‘a, and he volunteers his time to do carpentry repair work and other building projects.

Continuing to share his legal experience and knowledge, Alfred Laureta serves as a trained mediator in the Kauai Economic Opportunity Mediation Program.

Evelyn Laureta was nominated by Jennie Yukimura of the American Association of Retired Persons and the East Kauai Y’s Men’s Club.

After her retirement as a nurse with Mahelona Hospital, Evelyn Laureta has continued to serve her community through various agencies, including AARP and East Kauai Y’s Men’s Club.

Her volunteer work as a member of the East Kauai Y’s Men’s Club has included painting the YMCA’s Camp Naue and assisting with other service projects.

She also volunteers her time to man the AARP information office and the Thrift Shop at Mahelona Hospital.

She has served as a board member with The Salvation Army, ARC of Kauai, and the Agency on Elderly Affairs Advisory Council.

She has also contributed her time to support the activities of these agencies, such as helping at the annual Salvation Army community Thanksgiving luncheon.

The Lauretas will be honored at a statewide recognition ceremony on O‘ahu, May 25, with Gov. Linda Lingle.

The theme for this year’s event was Senior Fiesta: Kaua‘i Celebrates Healthy Aging, with Bernard Carvalho, the director of the county’s Offices of Community Assistance, serving as the day’s host.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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