Appreciating the military

BARKING SANDS — Mark Periello said when he thinks about various happenings in today’s world he gets nervous.

“But when I think about the people we have here on the island, defending our country and our freedoms, I’m not nervous (anymore),” Periello said during Friday’s Military Appreciation Luncheon.

Periello was one of dozens of community members and representatives from Kauai’s businesses that came together to honor the bravery and dedication of the men and women that serve in the U.S. military on the island.

The luncheon was held at the Pacific Missile Range Facility’s (PMRF) Shenanigans restaurant, complete with a buffet, drinks and fresh flower leis for all of the service men and women that were in attendance.

Michelle Emura, marketing specialist with Aqua Engineers and part of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Council, pointed out PMRF is Kauai’s third largest employer — with over 1,000 enlisted personnel, civilians, contractors and others.

She also said PMRF is number one in providing high-tech positions on Kauai and is the largest, instrumented multi-environment training and test range in the world.

Kauai’s Military Affairs Council (MAC) was created as an official committee of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce in January 2015. The goal is to aid the actions of PMRF and the rest of the branches of the military that have a presence on the island.

“We’re here as a further support to our military ohana here at PMRF, and our Hawaii national Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, and our veterans – those that fought for freedom and our way of life,” Emura said.

The organization is also working in partnership with the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce’s MAC to bring further resources to the military in Hawaii as “our nation and its allies as the military re-balance shifts to the Pacific Rim” she said.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. also threw in his gratitude for the island’s military members at Friday’s luncheon.

“We have a great relationship with them (Captain Bruce Hay and PMRF) and I am thankful for all of the men and women that serve with the military on the island,” Carvalho said.

He said that PMRF, under the leadership of Hay, has developed a strong connection with the communities on Kauai.

Hay said “demystifying PMRF” has been one of his goals because he’s part of the Kauai ohana as well.

“We have such a balance of cutting edge technology and beauty here, with the turtles and beaches,” Hay at the luncheon. “We’re your neighbors and we can bring people out here for tours. Being involved in the community is important to me.”

Hay is set to retire this summer and said he’s hoping to keep his wife and toddler on the island after leaving his post

“Kauai is our home, too,” Hay said.

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