Charity walks away with more than expected

There was barely enough time for Henry Kapono to wolf down a malasada before Ron Wiley introduced the special guest performer yesterday.

Kapono, who joined the crowd of more than a thousand walkers, still had grains of sugar on his cheek as he turned his attention towards strumming his Guild guitar as the people settled back to digest their breakfast offering.

Proceeds from yesterday’s Visitor Industry Walk stay on-island to help Kaua‘i’s non-profit, charitable and service agencies with their respective programs that result in helping people in the county.

Wiley was the voice of the Visitor Industry Walk, doubled-up with disc jockey Mark Valentin in a remote radio broadcast for KQNG radio. The pair huddled under umbrellas as they interviewed special guest Keoni Tucker of KGMB television and Bev Brody of the Great Weigh Out program who warmed up the walkers with her inimitable style of aerobic exercises.

The umbrellas added a cozy feel to the event that was blessed by natural showers as the early finishers were greeted by the cooling rain.

Doug Sears, general manager of the Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa, and Seth Barker, chairman for this year’s walk, were met with applause and cheers as they announced that walkers had surpassed the committee’s projected goal of $175,000.

“This is a great community event,” said Joe Tosto, Jr., a guest at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club, who was invited to join the event by the Kalapaki resort.

Tosto and his wife Carol, originally from Ohio, but have since moved to Carlsbad, Calif., said to see the community turn out to demonstrate this much support is impressive.

David Mona, winner of the “Silvah Slippah” at last year’s walk, topped his efforts and ended up winning the “Golden Slippah” this year. Mona single-handedly raised more than $2,500.

The Silvah Slippah award was presented to Lani Ridings for her efforts at raising more than $2,400, and Yon Hui Burget of the Sheraton Kaua‘i was awarded the “Rubbah Slippah” award for her efforts that produced more than $1,200.

Gini Kapali accepted the trophy on behalf of Kukui‘ula Development for having the best aid station as judged by a panel consisting of Billy Gibson, Julie Souza and Sue Kanoho.

Kukui‘ula Development topped the field of stations that included the Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial/Mahelona hospitals, Hilo Hattie’s, The Point at Po‘ipu, McDonald’s, Oceanic Time Warner, last year’s winner, and the Kaua‘i Community College Nursing School.

Colleen Valdez was the recipient of one of the Walk’s premium prizes — a Las Vegas trip. The grand prize of a trip to San Diego including a stay at the Grand Hyatt there was awarded to Wilma Achuara.

Each of the walkers were winners in their own right as they received a token of appreciation, a special event T-shirt, and a ticket that let them choose between nine offerings created by various resorts and its culinary departments.

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