WAILUA — Kalae Martins was excited about seeing her father-in-law aboard one of the “swamper tires” wheelchair Tuesday at Lydgate Park.
“This is his first time coming to the beach with Mahelona Hospital,” Kalae said. “Today is a good day because it’s their 71st anniversary after being married in 1945. I’ve always wanted to come and help at this outing because the residents always look like they’re having fun. This is my first time, too, and I’m excited about seeing him on those swamper tire wheelchairs.”
But Kalae’s delight was diminished as Jacob Martins said it was too windy to get in the water and spent the day in the security of his wheelchair. But other residents took to the water at the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital’s first of two beach outings at Lydgate Park.
“I come whenever I’m able to,” said Rep. Derek Kawakami who was helping residents aboard the special flotation devices. “The beach has great healing power, and it’s nice to see these residents be able to enjoy the beach.”
Josie Pablo, Mahelona Hospital recreation director, said it takes a lot of effort to coordinate the outing.
“We were able to bring 35 residents to this first beach outing of the year,” Pablo said. “And, because of all the efforts, there are five residents from the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital who are here as well.”
Joanna Martin, KVMH recreation director, and a KCC nursing student, said the Westside hospital will also host a beach outing on Sept. 12 at the Salt Pond Beach Park.
Nineteen first-year students turned out to help with the beach experience.
“I don’t know how long we’ve been doing this,” Pablo said. “But without the help of the nursing students, I don’t think this could happen.”
Rachel Dybul was busy chasing and escorting Melody Pascual, a Mahelona Hospital resident, who lost little time in getting ready to hit the water at Morgan’s Ponds.
“This experience is so good,” said nursing student Dybul. “To see the faces of the seniors as they get to watch the children playing in the water, and see the waves breaking over the rocks. This is so natural because Kauai is surrounded by water.”