Visitor industry fundraiser tops goal

Yesterday’s 30th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk unfolded in Lihu‘e under a veil of vog, but that didn’t stop the more than 1,300 participants from surpassing the goal of $200,000 in funds raised.

The top fundraiser for the event was Jeanette Ridings of the Kauai Marriott. She raised a total of $3,559 and earned the Gold Slippah award, beating out David Mona of the Grand Hyatt Kauai, who received the Silver Slippah award for $3,315 in funds raised.

Lani Ridings got the Rubba Slippah award for third place with $1,826.

Amber Lopes was the grand prize winner of the Big Save shopping spree.

Carl and Mary Ann Schleweyer of Atlanta, Ga., have been participating in the annual walk for the past three years, and Saturday marked their fourth.

“This is a good event,” Mary Ann Schleweyer said. “All the monies raised here, stays here. When you see how many local people are helped by this event, we just have to be part of it. We plan our trip here so we can be part of it.”

Chuck Brady, human resources director for the Kauai Marriott, said getting the Marriott owners involved is just one way they can feel part of the community.

Sandie Kato-Klute, an event leader, said the best part was having the Kapa‘a football team, a mass of green-jersied players, greet finishers with a gift and a breakfast ticket.

University of Hawai‘i head football coach Greg McMakin and his wife, Heather, had the privilege of passing through the gauntlet of cheering teens.

“We just wanted to broaden the horizons for these boys,” said Kapa‘a head football coach Keli‘i Morgado. “They were helping and cheering at the Kaua‘i Special Olympics last month, and now they’re here. This is something that shows them what community is about.”

All of the walkers were treated to a choice of breakfast from the major resorts’ culinary departments with help from Kaua‘i Community College’s culinary arts graduates.

Last year, the KCC culinary arts program was one of the 35 beneficiaries of the Visitor Industry Charity Walk.

Said KCC instructor and chef Martina Hilldorfer, “They get so much help from all of the resorts in the form of scholarships, so this is one they the students can give back.”

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

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