KALAHEO — During the annual Halloween candy buyback hosted by the Kalaheo Dental Group, Dr. Michael Lutwin realized there are about 80 Kauai soldiers deployed to the Middle East who would be spending the holidays without their families.
So the dentist coordinated the shipping of five boxes of goodies (yes, including some of the bought-back candy) from community partners, including Kauai Coffee, Nuts-O-Wat, Deja Vu Surf Hawaii, and others “who wanted to contribute.”
“No worries, we got you,” Lutwin emailed Kimo Farias, the point man for the deployed troops. “I reached out to our contacts at Kauai Coffee — general manager Fred Cowell is retired military and would love to throw in some stuff for you folks. In this season of gratitude and giving thanks, we are thinking of you all, and are very grateful for your service. Wishing you all a safe and productive mission and a speedy journey home.”
Farias responded via email after receiving the first of the five boxes sent through the U.S. Postal Service to an APO address.
“I just wanted to say thank you for everything you, and the Kalaheo Dental Group are doing for the community, and the soldiers over seas,” Farias wrote. “We really appreciate the love and support. We are all in good spirits and health at the moment. Knowing that we have friends and family back at home to support us really lifts everyone’s spirits. Being so far away from home, things like this really keeps the morale high, and aloha going strong here in Egypt.”
The care packages were shipped around Thanksgiving. The soldiers received the goodies in time for Christmas.
“Serving their country, away from their family and friends, we decided to send them some aloha from home,” Lutwin posted in social media. “And, despite taking a looooong time to reach their APO address in Egypt, we are stoked that these local kine goodies got there in time for some holiday cheer. Mahalo to our friends at Kauai Coffee Company, Deja Vu Surf Hawaii, Nuts-O-Wat for partnering with us to make 80 care packages, and mahalo to Sgt. Kimo Farias for being point man. We thank you, and all the Kauai soldiers for your service and wish you a safe and speedy return from your mission.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.