Kiwanis, Key clubs care about troops overseas

HANAMA‘ULU — For eight Kaua‘i people, it’s going to get pretty cold soon.

Helena Cooney, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Kaua‘i, knows that and knowing that there will be some Kaua‘i people who are deployed overseas and will spend the holidays away from their families and friends, sparked a collection of items for the troops.

“It’s been a while since people did anything to show our support for our troops overseas,” Cooney said.

“When the first troops were being deployed, everybody was doing a ‘Support Our Troops’ thing, but now, especially at Christmas, I think the soldiers, especially the Kaua‘i ones, would appreciate knowing that we support them. It’s going to start getting pretty cold over there.”

Cooney was on hand to hand over the collection of goods to the Hawai‘i National Guard who offered to pack and ship the goods to the Kaua‘i soldiers who are deployed overseas.

“At first, I thought I would have to pay for the shipping so we hesitated about including baby wipes,’” Cooney said. “But if the Guard is going to do the shipping, the soldiers really need this because of all the dust they deal with.”

Cooney extended the collection beyond the 30 members of the Kiwanis Club to the Key Clubs at both Kapa‘a and Kaua‘i high schools.

“We wanted them to have a touch of home so Marsha Olmarza of American Savings Bank just brought over some calendars that will be part of the packages,” Cooney said.

Among the items collected, Cooney said there are some Kaua‘i foodstuffs and other items that will hopefully bring the spirit of the island to the troops.

“There are also eight phone cards, each with 300 minutes on them,” Cooney said. “I understand phone cards are hard items to come by, so hopefully, our eight Kaua‘i soldiers can use them.”

Phillip Kamakea of the Hawai‘i National Guard said there are eight Kaua‘i soldiers currently deployed in Afghanistan and another 14 deployed to the Philippines. There is another contingent that is scheduled to be deployed to Kuwait in the near future, he said.

The collection will be shared between these troops and shipped off so they receive the items by Christmas.

Kamakea was joined by Milton Ozaki and Shanlee Jimenez of the National Guard Family Services program, Jimenez noting how the troops really would appreciate the case of Cup O Noodle.

“They’re really going to like this stuff,” she said.

In addition to the holiday collection for the Kaua‘i soldiers overseas, Cooney said the Kiwanis and Key Clubs are also involved in The Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Kettle program.

Starting Nov. 29, Cooney said the Kiwanis and the Key Clubs were ringing bells and manning the red kettles in front of Long’s Drugs and Star Markets on Thursdays. This Thursday is the last day, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Armed with her newfound knowledge of being able to get the help of the National Guard in getting packages to the troops, Cooney said, “Don’t worry, we’re going to do it again.”

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


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