LIHU‘E — Shelley Gerardo of Kukui‘ula said she could hear the Jack Harter Helicopter Sunday at the Hokuala Ocean Course 18th fairway.
“You can always hear the helicopter before you actually see it,” Gerardo said. “We’re staying at the condominiums near the Timbers Resort so my family should’ve come to see this because they can walk to where they can see it.”
The Jack Harter craft donated its services Sunday, hovering over the special hole created by the Hokuala ‘ohana on the for the second Kaua‘i United Way golf-ball drop.
“We almost sold out the 2,000-golf-ball limit,” said Kaua‘i United Way Acting Executive Director Lori Almarza. “We just came up a few short. We are thrilled with the support from our community of our 23 participating agencies. Without a doubt, this will continue to be an annual event, and with the return of golfers (following the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions), something we’ll look forward to each year.”
As the helicopter threaded its way among the mud hens that Almarza described as being “socially distanced” and the increasing winds that came with the daylight, the group of witnesses and recorders watched as the aircraft adjusted for the winds.
“We worked carefully with Kellie Hines and her Hokuala team to insure the safety of all involved in the event,” Almarza sai. “The event without any golfers was covered live on our Kaua‘i United Way Facebook page.”
The golf-ball drop raised more than $38,000 after giving out prizes valued at more than $5,000. Prizes were based on golf balls dropping into or closest to the hole.
Jimmy Tran earned the $1,500 cash award after his golf ball was found at the bottom of the hole. Mike Kano’s ball held Tran’s ball down, and earned him a staycation at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort &Spa and the Kipu Ranch Adventures outing.
Tim Takeshita of Enterprise Rent-A-Car earned a $500 gift card provided by Central Pacific Bank for being closest to the hole without going in.
In addition to the top three prize-getters, nine other awards were presented, individually, to Nick Courson, Sean Falvey, Steven Niau, Duke Sardinha, Lisa Hallsworth, Susan Metivier, Kui Souza, Merle Takahashi and Solomon Kanoho.
“During a time when we are so challenged to raise money in support of our member agencies, Kaua‘i really showed up to support this event,” said Almarza. “The need for these social services provided by our partner agencies has never been greater, and we are committed to supporting our partners and the thousands of people on Kaua‘i who are in need.”
Kaua‘i United Way recently launched its 2021 campaign with a goal of $550,000.
“During these uncertain times, we all recognize that there are many more people on Kaua‘i in need of vital services than ever before,” said Lynnette Medrano-Stine, the KUW campaign development director.
“Whether it be a hurricane, tropical storm, devastating floods or even a pandemic, Kaua‘i United Way supporters come together to raise funds for the most-vital needs in our neighborhood,” Medrano-Stine said.
”The money raised on Kaua‘i stays on Kaua‘i. Help us make a difference with your contribution and play an active part in keeping oiur Kaua‘i community safe and healthy,” she said.
The golf-ball drop was made possible through the sponsorship of Spectrum, Electrians, Inc., IBEW Local 1186, Koa Lani, Stan’s Contracting, Inc., Earthworks Pacific, Corteva Agriscience, Hawai‘i Government Employees Association, ILWU Local 152, Hawaiian Telcom, Kukui‘ula, Thomas Contrades Memorial Fund, Thomas Drywall, Inc., Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, Palm’s Hawai‘i Architecture, Timbers Kaua‘i and the Ocean Course at Hokuala, and Jack Harter Helicopters.
Prize donors include The Club at Kukui‘ula, Michael Contrades, Po‘ipu Bay Golf Course, Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort, Living Foods at The Shops at Kukui‘ula and Lili Bryan-Conant.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.