Charity Walk takes giant step

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Mufi Hannemann, president of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, joins representatives of recipient nonprofit organizations and members of the Charity Walk steering committee, including Kauai walk co-chairs Chip Bahouth and Christina Gabriel, in celebrating the distribution of funds from the 2018 walk, Wednesday morning at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

Representatives of 47 nonprofits got not only their share of funds from the 2018 Visitor Industry Charity Walk, they also received a commemorative shirt Wednesday at the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club.

Kauai did an outstanding job with the biggest percentage increase of all the Hawaiian Islands’ walks, said Mufi Hannemann, president of the Hawaii Lodging &Tourism Association, who dropped in to offer congratulations and thanks.

“Despite the flooding disaster, Kauai came through with $363,082.49,” Hannemann said. “That’s an increase from the $277,000 Kauai raised the year before. The bad news is that Christina Gabriel, one of the Kauai co-chairs, is leaving for a hotel on Oahu, and we expect she’ll do the same there. Oahu had a historic event, too, breaking the half- million-dollar mark for the first time.”

Hannemann said since the Charity Walk started 40 years ago, it has been the aim of the HLTA to help local nonprofits because government can’t be expected to do it.

Hanalei Bay Resort raised the most funds for resorts, finishing at $45,439.87, well over its 2017 total of $33,680.90.

“I didn’t even have time to do a plate lunch thing this year,” said Lillian Watari, announced as the top individual fundraiser, or the recipient of the Golden Slippa award at the walk in May. “I’ve been talking with the owners, and every meeting we have, I talk about the Charity Walk and how the money we raise here, stays here.”

The 2018 Charity Walk changed its venue from the Historic County Building to the North Vidinha soccer fields through the efforts of Jacob Vogelgesang to allow more space for entertainment food, and announcements.

This year’s walk featured 2,200 walkers. Chip Bahouth, Kauai co-chair, is hopeful to get 2,500 walkers next year.

Jim Braman, Kauai representative to the HLTA, turned over his responsibilities to Paul Toner, manager of the Kauai Marriott, who will take over as the Kauai HLTA representative.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or

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