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PHOTOS: Maui Visitor Charity Walk Raised $555,000

By Susan Halas

Never doubt that the No Ka Oi spirit is still alive and well and living on Maui.

headed for home

Walkers were still filled with enthusiasm as they turned the final corner and headed for home. Susan Halas photo.

What better example of Mauians supporting their own community and having a good time doing it than the 34th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk, sponsored by the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA).

The May 12th event drew an estimated crowd of over 2,500 participants to the War Memorial soccer field and raised a whopping $530,123 on Maui.

A week earlier, walks on Molokai and Lanai brought in $10,116 and $14,899 respectively for a Maui County total of $555,188, and a new record for the long-running fund-raiser.

All of the money raised in Maui County stays here and is allocated to dozens of non-profit organization as a contribution from the local visitor industry.

“This year we raised more funds than any other year in the history,” said Carol Reimann, MHLA executive director. “Maui has always done it in grand style – our island continues to raise more funds per capita than any other island in Hawaii.”

carol reimann & matt bailey

Carol Reimann of the MHLA and Matt Bailey of the Grand Wailea were organizers of this year's event. Susan Halas photo

Getting an Early Start

early arrival

The sun was just rising when Nancy Tabon and her dog Sassy, part of the Ka Lima O Maui team arrived. Susan Halas photo

At 6:15 a.m. the sun was just peeping over the horizon when the first walkers in their colorful team shirts began to assemble. On hand to greet them were event organizers including Reimann, and Matt Bailey – managing director of the Grand Wailea Resort, who served as this year’s chair.

The core group had already been on site for many hours the previous day getting the area ready for the hordes of walkers who would soon descend on Saturday morning.

Here They Come

Descend they did on foot, with strollers, towing wagons, signs, and furry companions. Some dressed in costume and accompanied kids of every size and shape. Participants included visitor industry workers, non-profit agencies who are the beneficiaries of the monies raised, and local businesses. They all sent teams to participate in the morning of exercise, fund raising, food, and entertainment.

Many of these hard-working walkers began their fundraising efforts months prior to the event by collecting pledges, hosting bake sales, chili & stew cook-offs, benefit luaus, car washes, tug-of-war competitions, a kick-ball tournament, even dunking booths and concerts.

And They’re Off

walk pix start out of the gate

Walkers poured out of the gate at the 7 a.m. start. Susan Halas photo.

At precisely 7 a.m. off they went in a flap of slippers and running shoes. Less than a half hour later those who ran the whole 5K distance came panting over the finish line. By 8 a.m. the rush toward home was in full swing as the thundering herds came streaming back through the gate.

They were welcomed by an array of tempting breakfast goodies prepared by some of the most talented hotel and resort kitchens.

A special booth for children distributed balloons, temporary tattoos and face painting. For the grown ups there were massages and the opportunity to register to vote.

Relaxing after their efforts, some sat in long tables under the tent enjoying the music while others camped comfortably in shady areas on the lawn.

The festivities concluded with door prizes of all kinds, entertainment by Hawaii’s favorite funny man Frank De Lima and announcements of the day’s leaders in fundraising in various categories.

And the Winners Are:

The Grand Wailea took in top honors of the property bringing in the most with $100,001.

HC&S was the business who raised the most at $11,372.

Winning the award for non-profit raising the most was Hale Makua, a frequent top contributor in years past. It collected $33,000.

The top individual fundraiser was Mitch Mitchell who collected $10,660.

The property raising the most per capita was Kahana Falls at $257 per employee.

See more Visitor Charity Walk results below.

winning t shirt hyatt

Peter Mupas (L) and Joven Madriaga (R) display the front and back of the colorful Hyatt Regency t-shirt. The Hyatt took first place in the t-shirt competition. Susan Halas photo.

veterans-kbh our walking days are over

Our walking days are over, said these two veterans of more than 20 years of Charity Walks. But that didn't keep Myrtle Kim and Joyce Voelker of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel from showing up early. Susan Halas photo.

setting up for breakfast

Raffy Villegas, Consante Garcia and Roger Koka worked to set up the Fairmont Kea Lani breakfast booth. The booth won first prize as the best decorated. Susan Halas photo.

relaxing in the shade

After the walk participants enjoyed breakfast and relaxed in the shade. Susan Halas photo

breakfast of champions

Roland Valle and wife Emi, members of the HC&S contingent participated with their children and enjoyed a hearty breakfast. Susan Halas photo.

geriatric hula revised

The gang from Hale Makua joined funny man Frank De Lima in a geriatric hula. Shown right is Muffy Gushi and left is Mitch Mitchell, who was the top individual fund raiser for the day.

 

Other Visitor Charity Walk Results:

Individual Raising the Most:

1st Place: Mitch Mitchell, Hale Makua – $10,660

2nd Place: Peter Tierney, SPCA – $10,445

3rd Place: Suzie Moore, Kahana Falls – $6,775

Business Raising the Most:

1st Place: HC&S – $11,372

2nd Place: Bank of Hawaii – $9,912

3rd Place: Avis/Budget Group – $4,456

Non-Profit Agency Raising the Most:

1st Place: Hale Makua – $33,020

2nd Place: Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation – $21,804

3rd Place: SPCA – $18,797

Property Raising the Most Per Capita:

1st Place: Kahana Falls – $257 per employee

2nd Place: Grand Wailea – $219 per employee

3rd Place: Maui Condo & Home – $200 per employee

Property Raising the Most:

1st Place: Grand Wailea – $100,001

2nd Place: Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – $26,317

3rd Place: Royal Lahaina Resort – $16,570

 

 

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