The holidays are a time for people to come together, said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, as he got help from Luau Kalamaku chef Danny Kanahele in carving a ceremonial turkey Wednesday at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.
“This is my first time carving a turkey,” Kawakami said. “My father used to get up early to cook the turkey. And he carved the bird, too. These were the best times — when everybody got together.”
The carving of the ceremonial turkey signaled the start of The Salvation Army Lihue Corps community luncheon, where more than 200 people enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing and all the dressings.
“This is a true community event,” said The Salvation Army Capt. Bill Simon, who along with Capt. Cathy Simon and a host of volunteers welcomed the people. “We couldn’t do this by ourselves. We got help from a lot of people, including the County of Kauai, the Luau Kalamaku crew who cooked the turkeys, the schools, and all of our volunteers. This is truly a community effort.”
A similar luncheon took place at The Salvation Army Hanapepe Corps social and dining hall, where Capt. Shaun Keoho returned from her family emergency to lead her corps of volunteers.
“She really wanted to be there,” Capt. Bill Simon said. “It was really hard for her to get back, but she just posted to social media. She’s at the center of the Rotary Club volunteers.”
Charlie Andrade, unable to work due to a illness for the past two years, was one of those at the Lihue celebration. “This is my Thanksgiving lunch,” she said while being served her meal by a Kapaa High School Key Club member. “I missed this last year because I didn’t know when it was. This year, I made it because I called to find out when it was going to happen.”
Larry Rivera, providing entertainment for the Lihue gathering for the past 30 years, squeezed the luncheon ahead of a wedding he was scheduled to entertain.
“Tell Bill Buley this might be my last time,” Rivera said. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years — before Captain Simon was born. I turn 90 in September, and this might be my last time.”
Janice Bond brought friends, including Gina Keawemauhilikeaweamahi, 70, to the event, this year Gina being joined by her sister Edith Bunch, who moved here from the mainland to live with her.
“There’re not too many people here,” Gina said. “I’ve been coming here for seven years, and I get to meet so many people. It helps me provide. I try and make sandwiches and go to find people who need.”
Rosanne Stanton served as a greeter, meeting each diner and also helping people with their holiday needs request adjacent to a small Angel Tree that flowed with requests from young people for the holidays.
“My husband and I always find some time to help during the holidays,” Stanton said between greeting people, serving meals and refilling cold drinks. “This is a good event.”
Shane Ford was jubilant with thankfulness, accepting a plate with his girlfriend Spirit Lahti.
“We’re going to have a baby. She just made 14 weeks,” Ford said. “We have a lot to be thankful for.”
Roland Palmer, a server from Gaylord’s restaurant at Kilohana, agreed.
“Chef Johnny Saguid wanted to do this,” Palmer said. “He’s been doing it for several years.”
Saguid, who has been cooking and serving for the past six years, said having the Luau Kalamaku and Gaylord’s staff facilitates the serving. It’s nice to help out, especially during the holidays,” Saguid said.