Kaua‘i RSVP acknowledges its volunteers in drive-thru reception

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    “Hurry up, I have to go,” says “Mama Gramma” Bridget Arume, left, who hides Johnny Yago from the camera being wielded by Avis Hirahara Tuesday while Hirahara gets a photo of Mayor Derek Kawakami and the Kaua‘i Retired and Senior Volunteer Program team minus county Agency on Elderly Affairs Director and Kaua‘i Executive on Aging Kealoha Takahashi, who spent the time doing Christmas carols with Sharon Leoiki, Tuesday during the Kaua‘i RSVP Senior Recognition Day drive-thru at the Waimea Athletic Field.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Mayor Derek Kawakami personally hands a gift bag to a Kaua‘i Retied and Senior Volunteer Program volunteer Tuesday during the drive-thru Senior Recognition Day at the Waimea Athletic Field.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Mayor Derek Kawakami joins part of the Kaua‘i Retired and Senior Volunteer Program team Tuesday during the annual Senior Recognition Day drive-thru at the Waimea Athletic Field.

Tuesday marked the second Kaua‘i Retired and Senior Volunteer Program annual Senior Recognition Day event for 2021 at the Waimea Athletic Field, where Mayor Derek Kawakami surprised both organizers and award recipients by attending.

Kawakami thanked the organizers for their efforts at pulling off the recognition done in consideration of COVID-19 protocols before taking over the duty of handing out gifts personally and offering his mahalo for the work being done by the Kaua‘i RSVP volunteers who paraded through the several tents spaced out in consideration of social distancing.

“We’re honoring 284 seniors this year,” said Grace Delos Reyes of the county Agency on Elderly Affairs and Kaua‘i RSVP. “We also have two seniors who have volunteered 30 years each with the program. They are Nancy Harada and Bessie Maeda, who got their awards during the drive-thru we held Friday at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall.”

The reduced number of volunteers is due to COVID-19 pandemic and concerns over safety, health and the potential spread of the virus and its variants.

Volunteers were scheduled to pick up their awards in shifts to prevent congestion and larger gatherings of people in the avenue where Kealoha Takahashi, the AEA director, joined Sharon Leoiki in nonstop caroling, the overflow wafting across the road to the low-income rental complex.

“I only joined Kaua‘i Retired and Senior Volunteer Program after delivering meals to home-bound residents,” said Kaua‘i RSVP volunteer Liz Hahn. “It’s a really good program that keeps me busy.”

The Kaua‘i RSVP, operating under the sponsorship of the AEA since 1973, provides volunteer opportunities for persons 55 years and older to help them remain active, contributing members of the community.

Lt. Amy Lewis of The Salvation Army Hanapepe Corps wedged the Kaua‘i RSVP into her calendar of events needing attention because of the holiday season, making sure her RSVP volunteers were thanked for their service through the year.

With Donna Lynn Loo as its director, the Kaua‘i RSVP marks several noteworthy events on its calendar, including the Outstanding Older American program and several national days of service projects.

“We’re AmeriCorps,” Delos Reyes said. “We invited the Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity and its group of AmeriCorps volunteers to participate in this event, too.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.