Letters for Dec. 15, 2014

• Queen’s Bath a dangerous place • Actions speak louder than words • 

Queen’s Bath a dangerous place

I find myself both upset and elated in regards to Friday’s remarkable rescue at Queen’s Bath. Upset because visitors are going there in these deadly winter surf conditions. What was once a remote local area for hard-core ulua and opihi fishermen is now world-renowned in social media, billed as an exotic and wondrous place to visit and as a “Gem” in some guidebooks. And in case your GPS system malfunctions, the Princeville Community Association has even put up two large “Queen’s Bath Parking” signs to guide you there.

I know from my personal surveys that our concierges are compulsive and unceasing in telling visitors who ask about Queen’s Bath: “We recommend that you don’t go there.” But many of our visitors are staying at vacation rentals and they don’t get these blessed words of advice. Social media have irretrievably put Queen’s Bath onto our visitors’ must-see list. So yes, I’m upset and every day I’m nervous about what’s going on out there.

I’m elated because Kauai’s life-saving forces came together as one to save the young man, delivering him and his wife and daughter a happy holiday season and future instead of a horror/disaster and a coffin in the hold of a Mainland-bound airliner.

Our strategically placed rescue tubes were a critical piece of the puzzle as the man’s brother threw the nearest one in, thereby allowing his swept-off-the-rocks brother to hang onto the tube for dear life even as he was being pounded against the rocky cliffs. Then our Hanalei firefighters appeared on-scene and jumped into the ocean with their rescue tubes and they “clipped him up” and got him away from the cliffs. Then our lifeguards screamed around the corner and into the picture on their Hanalei Jet Ski and gathered up all parties and brought them safely to shore. Then our paramedics stabilized the man and transported him to Wilcox Hospital. And ultimately, our Wilcox ER and ICU staff continued to stabilize and treat the banged-up and nearly-drowned victim, and it is nothing short of glorious that he is safely restored to his health and to his family.

Our programs and our rescuers delivered a beautiful Christmas present to the man’s family and to all of Kauai. It’s the holiday season and we give thanks. And everyone … please be safe.

Monty Downs, M.D.

President, Kauai Lifeguard Association

Actions speak louder than words

Derek Kawakami is one tough guy. He is also an elected official who went well above and beyond what anyone would have expected of him.

What did he do?

Well the same day that he had surgery for a tear in his shoulder, he attended the 14th annual Friendship House Employers Awards Banquet. Derek has long been a supporter of Friendship House, a Clubhouse Model rehabilitation program for adults who have a mental illness. Through his prior affiliation with Big Save and currently Kapahi Mini-Mart, many people from Friendship House have obtained meaningful employment opportunities. Derek had every reason to miss this year’s event, having gone through a painful surgery that same day.

Did that stop him? No.

Despite elections being over, and Derek not being a main speaker at the event, he and his wife Monica still made the time and effort to attend. And his presence spoke volumes to everyone who was there. The guy was in obvious pain but he and Monica gave almost three hours of their time to an event that meant so much to the 100-plus people who attended.

Mahalo Derek Kawakami for being someone that our community is fortunate to have as an elected official. You walk the walk and are the real deal.

Jack Yatsko

Chief Operating Officer, Clubhouse International


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