LIHUE — Not a dry eye in the house.
That’s how James “Kimo” Rosen described the crowd that packed the celebration of life service for Dr. Scott Sims on Sunday, known far and wide as Kauai’s barefoot Aloha Vet.
“You would had thought the Pope or some famous movie, rock star or president was being put to rest,” Rosen wrote about the experience, attended by several hundred people. “The energy was electrifying. Like a great revival the spirit and positive energies were everywhere.”
Sims, a Kilauea veterinarian made famous by starring in his own reality television show but revered on Kauai long before that, was 59 when he died July 25 at Wilcox Memorial Hospital.
“I can’t really put into words how I felt because of all the emotion,” Su Haynes, a close friend of Sims since the veterinarian moved to the island around 2002, told The Garden Island. “There is just so much emotion.”
Samantha Wise organized the celebration of life at the Princeveille Airport along with Hawaii live stream. Chicken in a Barrel catered the event that ran for about four hours and live music was provided by solo artist Alan Thomas.
A helicopter shower dropped flowers on the runway in remembrance.
“It was a real cross section of all his folks,” Haynes said of all the people whom Sims touched during his life.
While attendance crept close to 1,000 people, it was also live streamed for people to watch — a tribute to how far the barefoot vet’s influence reached.
Rosen captured the event on his blog, and the outpouring of support that signed into the memorial was marked there as well.
“We were out of town. I am so grateful it is archived. So anxious to see it. I was truly there in spirit,” Patty Brown Allen wrote.
“What a beautiful tribute, watched it from Tucson, AZ,” Lourdes Leyva-O’Heir wrote.
“Wasn’t a dry eye in California either,” Shirley French added.
Sims earned his own reality television show last year, “The Aloha Vet,” where he became more widely known as the nation’s unconventional, barefoot animal doctor whose adventures with cattle, goats, horses and hens garnered a million viewers on Nat Geo Wild.
Five days before the show was picked up for a second season, doctors told Sims he had bladder cancer.
“You may have noticed that those who enjoy life the most are the same ones that live their life full,” a 17-year-old Sims wrote in a high school paper that was shared at the celebration. “They fill their life because they like living and they like living because they fill their life.”
Part of the celebration focused on keeping Sims’ dream of a pay-as-you can animal clinic on Kauai alive Those interested in helping the cause can contact the Pegasus Foundation at http://www.pegasusfoundationkauai.org/
“We all knew it, but it really hit home,” Haynes said of continuing Sims’ mission. “This was his big wish.”
Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. declared Aug. 23 Scott Sims day in honor and memory of Sims.
For those who missed the event it is archived at http://www.livestream.com/hawaiistream/events/4286418
While it rained outside during the event, Rosen said guests saw them as symbolic drops.
“Everyone at the memorial felt sorrow at the loss of the beloved iconic mensch Dr. Scott, and the heavens, too, wept tears with a heavy downpour during the presentation,” he wrote.