LIHUE — The amount of walkers exceeded the goal set by organizers of the Visitor Industry Charity Walk Saturday centering around the historic County Building in Lihue.
“We have 2,220 walkers registered,” said Marc Bennor, chair of the 2015 Charity Walk hosted by the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Kauai Chapter. “The walkers raised $230,000, and the money is still coming in. We need just a little bit more.”
Last year’s walk raised $235,000.
The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Kauai Chapter, will distribute the money to nonprofits through a grant application process.
For the second year in a row, Lillian Watari walked off with the Golden Slippah, topping the fundraising efforts with $7,423. David Mona was named the Rubbah Slippa winnah, his contributions coming in at $1,950.
“It was hard work,” said Watari, who works at the Hanalei Bay Resort. “I carried my forms everywhere — even to the supermarkets. A lot of thanks go to the Hanalei Bay Resort owners, staff and guests who support this effort.”
Hanalei Bay finished fifth in fundraising efforts with a contribution topping $15,000. Fourth-place honors went to the Sheraton Kauai Resort with $18,000. The Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club ended with contributions totaling $20,000, and the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas kicking in $25,000.
The Tonkatsu Ramen breakfast offering by the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa whetted many appetites, but its $29,000 contribution topped the resort fundraising efforts, much to the delight of Bennor and host Ron Wiley.
Central Pacific Bank, kicking in a trip to Las Vegas, was the site for last-minute registrations from walkers finishing the 3-mile circle in Lihue. Unfortunately, groans were the order of the day as Coy Redmann, who was announced as the winner of the random drawing trip, had already gone home.
The Joyful Noise taiko ensemble roused the walkers into action from the lawn of the historic County Building, making the downhill run on Rice Street, where old-fashioned hard ice was handed out to the sound of Hawaiian tunes from Maka Herrod at the Malie Foundation aid station.
“I was president of the Kauai Community College Nursing Club and learned about doing the first aid station,” said Sherry Oshiro, whose daughter is part of the Kapaa Elementary School Girl Scouts After School Hours Program. “They are helping and being able to earn one of their merit badges at the same time.”
Oshiro visited the neighboring Koloa Landing aid station for trash bags to gather used cups from participants.
“This is all part of giving back to the community,” said Ike Cockett, manager of Koloa Landing. “We need to do more of this.”
Mary Lardizabal, director of the Kapaa Middle School Ukulele Band and Chorus, was thrilled to have walked the 3-mile course.
“I’m so glad someone told me about this,” Lardizabal said. “This was fun. Now, I’ve got to get busy and write my grant request.”