HLTA deserves credit for UH donation

There was a significant omission in The Garden Island’s coverage of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly membership meeting (July 2, “Chamber meeting features UH coaches”).

University of Hawaii Athletics was presented with a $10,000 donation during the event, which your report erroneously credited to the Chamber. Rather, the award was made jointly by the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA) and Family and Friends of Agriculture. In addition, the HLTA was partner with the Chamber in this meeting, the second time we have done so.

HLTA and all the sponsors that evening enthusiastically support the UH’s student-athletes and the tremendous pride and honor they bring to our state and people. Led by Athletic Director David Matlin, that event at the Grand Hyatt was the largest single gathering of UH coaches, totaling seven in all, in one place outside a university-sponsored gathering. We committed the $10,000 to the Athletic Department in support of their programs and the net result is as HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann indicated, “We can expect to see more UH sports-related activities on the Garden Island as a result of the successful Chamber event.”

We also would like to point out that HLTA’s commitment and support of the Garden Isle is steadfast and consistent. Our Kauai Chapter is extremely active in the community, supporting noble causes like our annual Charity Walk, which this year raised a record $ 277,000 to assist local non-profit agencies. Last year during our General Membership meeting at the Kauai Sheraton, we donated $25,000 to Kauai Economic Opportunity to help combat homelessness.

We also support Kauai’s youth through numerous scholarships. Over the last 13 years, our Citizen-Scholar Awards, a partnership with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Department of Education, has provided a $1,000 scholarship to a senior from every public school in the state, including Kauai, Kapaa and Waimea. This year, we awarded an additional $2,500 to Kapaa’s Grace Yatsko as the top Citizen-Scholar for the county. We also introduced two new scholarships this year: the $2,500 HLTA member scholarship, which was awarded to Sydney Brady, Kauai High School’s valedictorian, and a $1,000 Hookipa Scholarship to Melanie Matsunaga, also from Kauai High School, to help her in her hospitality industry studies.

Finally, the HLTA co-sponsored the Agriculture Foundation’s presentation of a panel at the Hawaii State Association of Counties conference hosted by the Kauai County Council in June, and is a partner in Kauai’s ever-popular Harvest Festival in October in Waimea.

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association is a long and proud supporter of many praiseworthy causes throughout the islands, and we do so without expectation of praise or reward. However, when our work is reported, we hope we can at least expect an accurate representation of that involvement.

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Alex Roth is director of Communications and Special Projects, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.

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