LIHUE — Leleaka Anakalea’s heroes can’t fly and don’t wear fancy capes or have supernatural abilities.
“Veterans are true heroes,” Anakalea said. “They endured the unimaginable. With their hearts as fierce as lions, they dove into a world full of chaos and bloodshed ready to protect. They responded to the call of duty, answering the prayers of many.”
Anakalea, a senior at Kapaa High School, was installed by the Kauai Veterans Council as the 2018 Miss Kauai Veteran Wednesday afternoon. The installation was officiated by Gen. (retired) Mary Kay Hertog, KVC commandant, and Charlene Dorsey of the Miss Kauai Veterans Selection Committee, and done before Anakalea’s family, including grandfather James Anakalea.
“My grandfather is one amongst these many heroes,” said Anakalea, who was also recently selected to the Kapaa High School Homecoming Court. “The stories he shares with his grandchildren give us a brief glimpse into the post-war life of a soldier. It is clear that fighting in a war has everlasting impacts on those who have served. I see this firsthand with my grandpa, who shows great emotion whenever recounting memories of his service, or when hearing of present-day warfare stories and issues. He continually reminds us grandchildren to always appreciate what we have, recognize the many sacrifices servicemen and women have made for us, and to include a request for their protection with every evening prayer.”
The daughter of Blake and Haleakala Anakalea maintains a grade point average of 4.125 while balancing between being a member of the school’s National Honor Society, a tutor for elementary school children, involved in the Senior Mentorship program, and with the Health Capstone Internship program.
She has time left over for hula and Tahitian dance and works part time at Kayak Hanalei and the Wailua Shave Ice.
Following graduation, she intends to attend either the University of Hawaii at Manoa or Portland State University in Oregon, to pursue study in child psychology.
During her tenure as Miss Kauai Veteran, Anakalea will serve as the ambassador of the KVC and all veterans on Kauai. Her debut will come Nov. 3 when she assumes a position of honor during the annual Kauai Veterans Day parade in downtown Kapaa.
“By having this title, I hope to be given the opportunity to support veterans in any way possible while also encouraging others to do the same,” Anakalea said. “I believe it is important for the younger generation to not only acknowledge but to also celebrate all that our veterans have sacrificed for our nation.”