Matsumoto, Johnson honored as Kauai’s Outstanding Older Americans

LIHUE – Lihue resident Marilyn Matsumoto and Loren Johnson, Sr. of Kalaheo, today were named Kauai’s 2014 Outstanding Older Americans.

The announcement was made this morning at the annual Outstanding Older Americans Recognition Ceremony held at the Kaua‘i Beach Resort.

The field of nominees also included: Asako Iwamoto; Deloros Kaauwai; JoAnne Machin; Roy Miyashiro; Florentina Morena; Yukie Okino; Aida Rajel and Robert Sims.

State and county officials that attended the ceremony acknowledged all of the nominees for their contributions to the community as well as their personal accomplishments.

State officials include: Gov. Neal Abercrombie’s Kaua‘i representative Wanda Shibata; state Sen. Ronald Kouchi; and state Reps. Derek Kawakami and Jimmy Tokioka.

Local dignitaries in attendance include: Managing Director Nadine Nakamura, who represented Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr.; Council Chair Jay Furfaro and Councilmembers Gary Hooser, Ross Kagawa, Mel Rapozo and JoAnn Yukimura.

Described as “a fountain of energy and creativity that never stops working for the benefit of all the citizens of the island”, Matsumoto is known for generously sharing her love of music and her leadership skills and fundraising ability.

In ukulele classes at the Lihue Senior Center, Matsumoto teaches her students to perform songs as they were originally written based on a musical notation system that she developed for her classes.

As a volunteer at the Lihue Center, she coordinates events, entertainment and excursions and produces musical and hula shows. Matsumoto is also adept at soliciting prizes, ads for program booklets and T-shirt sales that benefit seniors. She was nominated by Paula Green, one of her ukulele students, and a fellow ukulele instructor Herman Paleka.Prior to her retirement, Matsumoto was an administrative assistant to the director of Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

At 71, Johnson has been described as “someone who refuses to grow old and has truly unleashed the power of age”.

Johnson is the co-founder of the Kauai Adventure Club, which utilizes social networking to host free adventure events. He also arranges activities such as hikes, canoe adventures and volunteer activities in real-time.

Organizations that have benefitted from Johnson’s volunteer efforts include: the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary; Kauai Habitat for Humanity; Kauai Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, Net Patrol; National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Waipa Foundation.

His volunteer work ranges from coordinating environmental waste collections and the removal of nets and debris from beaches to working in NTBG’s plant nurseries and in taro ponds for the Waipa Foundation.

Johnson was nominated by Jessica Clabo, volunteer coordinator for the Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity.

Johnson and Matsumoto will be honored at a ceremony at the State Capitol on May 16 along with the awardees from the other Hawaii counties.

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