Plenty to be thankful for on Kauai

We have much to be thankful for, right?

Oh, we can always find something to complain about, something we could point out that is wrong, something we could highlight that’s a problem. There are more than enough people who will zero in on the negative. But today, Thanksgiving, let’s not.

There are, on Kauai, countless reasons to appreciate what we do have. There are people and places and events that brighten up our lives. We certainly can’t name them all, but we can name some, so here we go. We are thankful for:

• All the volunteers out there, who with little recognition give many hours to the many nonprofits that perform an array of critical services to help those in need. There are also many people not associated with any particular group who still donate time, talent and treasure to make life a little better for others. Kauai is blessed with an army of volunteers who don’t seek the spotlight, but it would be nice to give it to them;

• The kupuna who share their wisdom with us. Our elders know so much, and we could learn so much if we would only take the time to listen to them. Many societies value and treasure their seniors. The United States, unfortunately, is not one of them. Fortunately, Hawaii is a place where our kupuna are respected and honored. They will not be with us forever, so please, get to know them now;

• Our friends at the Kauai Humane Society. We like what we see under the guidance of Mirah Horowitz, their new executive director. We all know this island has many dogs and cats that need homes. Until they find them, KHS does its best to give these animals wonderful care and love. Theirs is a thankless task, a never-ending battle as stray and abandoned animals end up in their care. They are fighting the good fight;

• Our friends on the North Shore. They endured much following the April 2018 flooding. Yet they rose to the task of rebuilding, renovating and starting over. They did not lose hope in what for many seemed to be a hopeless situation. They persevered beyond what most of us could handle. While the reopening of Kuhio Highway might not have come at exactly the right time, most North Shore residents made the best of it;.

• At the risk of sounding like we’re trying to get in good with this island’s top elected leader, we have to be thankful for our Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, who has a heart for the people and will do what’s best for them. He’s just getting started, but once he settles in after this first year, we expect he will accomplish extraordinary things for this island, where he has deep roots;

• We know they get accolades, but you really can’t give enough to our lifeguards. These folks, and not for a whole lot of money, save lives. Sure, we do hear about dramatic rescues. But there are untold instances where their actions keep people from getting into trouble in the ocean. And if you ever get a chance to chat with some of our lifeguards, men like Eugene Ancheta, you will find they are the best of people. Kauai Lifeguard Association President Dr. Monty Downs is an example of someone who goes above and beyond to keep others safe;

• We are surrounded by an ocean that brings us life. Recreation. Beauty. Food. The ocean is awesome. It can also be deadly. So, be sure to give it the respect it deserves;

• Anaina Hou Community Park is home to the Wai Koa Loop Trail, Porter Pavilion, a spectacular playground and terrific putt-putt golf course. More and more events are being held there because of its environment and because of the people who work there. This is one of our island’s growing treasures. It faces financial challenges, so please, support it;

• Smith Family Garden Luau is another of Kauai’s most precious places. It’s beautiful, the luau is second-to-none and the people are among the kindest you will meet. Kamika Smith, the general manager at Smith’s, has a big smile and a big heart. He’s also a fine runner who shares his love of the sport by traveling the world to run;

• At the end of the day, Kauai has an abundance of sunshine, warmth and beaches. It is overflowing with aloha. It is a good place to call home. For that, we should all be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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