Walking Tall

LIHUE — Faith Rapozo is on her way toward realizing her dream of becoming a hotel executive.

“I was just hired by the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort a few days ago,” the Kauai Community College student said Thursday at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

She said she is the first of seven siblings to attend college.

Rapozo was presented with a $1,000 Bob Holden scholarship by Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, who flew in with Greg Nelson of Maui, the state chair for the Visitor Industry Charity Walk.

The scholarship goes to someone working toward a goal of being in the executive level of the visitor industry.

“She has a moving story,” Hannemann said

Paul Toner, general manager of the Kauai Marriott and the chair of the 2017 walk, said more than $277,000 was collected for the event in May. That beat the $275,000 goal.

Funds were distributed by Charity Walk leaders to 60 local nonprofits.

Lillian Watari of the Hanalei Bay Resort finished with more than $17,000 collected to be honored as the top individual fundraiser for the fourth straight year.

“This puts her at the No. 6 spot among all the resorts who stepped forward to collect funds,” Toner said. “The top resort was the Hanalei Bay Resort who collected more than $33,000 followed by the Kauai Marriott at $31,000.”

Funds generated by the Visitor Industry Charity Walk are not for the hotel industry, Hannemann said.

“Everything we collect goes back into the community,” he said.

Christina Gabriel, manager of the Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club, and Chip Bahouth, manager of the Sheraton Kauai Resort, will serve as co-chair of the 2018 Visitor Industry Charity Walk which will mark its 40th anniversary of helping communities.

Statewide, the Charity Walk raised $2.2 million. More than $38 million has been collected in 39 years.

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