Walk exceeds organizers’ dreams

WAILUA — David Moyles, Kaua‘i WalkAmerica coordinator, is still reeling from Saturday’s event.

“This is our biggest year, ever,” Moyles said in a phone call over the weekend.

The WalkAmerica committee set up to accommodate about 300 walkers, but Moyles said there must have been at least double that amount of walkers.

“They raised about $37,000 with the biggest group, the Fun ‘n Kwazy yellowshirts, coming in with more than $7,000,” Moyles said.

In addition to raising funds and walking, Ken Carvalho had his crew manning the fun ride company’s inventory of rides.

“He was covered in sweat by the end of the day,” Moyles said. “He really worked hard.”

Carvalho’s family was selected as the March of Dimes poster family and was featured just prior to the start of the WalkAmerica event Saturday.

“By the time the corporate sponsors like K-mart and others get through tallying their efforts, we should be conservatively in the $40,000 range,” Moyles said.

Moyles added the arrangement by Caroline Hazelton boosted the event with the addition of the Kapa‘a High School Choir which rendered the national and state anthems under the direction of Catherine Paleka.

Additionally, members of the Kapa‘a High School band turned out with its flag corps and provided live music for the walkers who left the main pavilion for the Kamalani Bridge turnaround before returning to the pavilion.

Hazelton also arranged to have Larry Rivera perform for the walkers.

“Not only did he perform, he had his daughters on hand so there was hula and all kinds of excitement,” Moyles said.

Mike Dandurand provided pre-walk music with Mark James of Hits FM99.9 doing emcee duty.

Funds generated through WalkAmerica benefit the March of Dimes whose mission is to combat premature birth, the leading cause of newborn death in the nation.

Premature birth can happen to any pregnant woman for reasons which are currently unknown.

Through the efforts of walkers who turned out Saturday, the March of Dimes can continue to fund research and programs to prevent premature birth and other threats to babies’ health.

In 2006, more than 20,000 teams participated nationwide in the WalkAmerica.

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

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