LIHU‘E — William “Bill” Enoka was honored in a memorial service Tuesday night in an event hosted by Kaua‘i Civil Air Patrol at the Kauai Veterans Center.
Enoka was one of two pilots who died in a recent plane crash at Dillingham airport on O‘ahu and was an active part of the Kaua‘i community, training pilots in the CAP and working on aircraft. He also was a retired member of the Kaua‘i Fire Department.
Family, friends, fellow pilots and cadets gathered to remember the far-reaching impact Enoka had on the community during his life.
Speakers remembered Enoka as a man of honesty and compassion for others, and for his love and knowledge for flying, a quality that impacted everyone he reached.
Enoka’s niece Allennette Stender spoke on behalf of the family at the memorial, saying “Enoka was a real spunky, fun and generous man.”
“I didn’t realize before coming here how many kids and lives he touched. That was news to me. On behalf of my aunty Monica (Bill’s sister) and our ‘ohana, we want to thank everyone for their love and support,” Stender said.
Pastor James Merritt from Waimea Baptist Church reflected on his time learning to fly with Enoka.
“He was my mentor,” Merritt said. “He is remembered for his love for the cadets and helping others.”
Also present were young cadets who benefited from Enoka’s glider orientation, cadets who aspire careers in aviation as either fighter pilots or with commercial airlines.
“I didn’t know him really well, but any interactions I had with him he was so caring,” said cadet Dawson Hanson. “He was a senior member who did missions. He was our aircraft maintenance manager. He was a good example of how we cadets should continue his legacy and follow how he represented our air community.”
Teresa Nero and her parents, Susan and Roger Caires, were in attendance, and all shared memories of their time with Enoka. Roger Caires and Enoka were old friends who met in the 1980s while on a search-and-rescue mission. Enoka was working with KFD at the time, and Caires was working with the CAP. It was then Enoka joined CAP and took the lead in the Hawai‘i Wings Cadet glider program.
“He was the kind of friend who was willing to do whatever he could, including keeping in daily contact with your wife so he’d know how you are doing,” Susan Caires said. “He did that for my husband Roger during the last week of his life. His last text was the Friday night before the crash saying that he and his wife Monica would be visiting soon.”
Caires continued: “Enoka was the kind of friend who, after learning that you were going to be medivaced to O‘ahu and admitted to the hospital for surgery, would be there waiting for your arrival and, once situated in your room, he would come in and visit until visiting time is over.”
County investigator Mel Rapozo knew Enoka for more than 30 years through the Kua‘i Police Department before he retired.
“Bill was a class act; a true gentleman in all aspects of his life. On the job, he was a stickler for professionalism,” Rapozo said.
”He was my first flight instructor while my brother Gerald and I both took his FAA ground school training over 25 years ago. We flew many times together. He was very strict and safety-minded, but an excellent trainer,” said Rapozo.
He continued: “ I knew Bill as a family man, hard worker, community servant and a good friend. He will be missed.”
Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.