Ruge and Wright Named Maui Outstanding Older Americans

May 9, 2014, 7:59 PM HST · Updated May 12, 9:06 AM
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Outstanding Older American Winners Fred Ruge and Kanee Wright pose at the awards luncheon at Maui Beach Hotel. Photo courtesy: County of Maui / Ryan Piros.

Outstanding Older American Winners Fred Ruge and Kanee Wright pose at the awards luncheon at Maui Beach Hotel. Photo courtesy: County of Maui / Ryan Piros.

By Maui Now Staff

The Maui County Office on Aging today announced their awards for Outstanding Older American this year were issued to residents Fred Ruge and Kanee Wright.

The 46th annual awards ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at the Maui Beach Hotel.

Thy were among a list of 10 nominees that also included: Louise Corpuz, Penny Dearborn, Sally Gospodarek, Barbara Kennedy, Kathleen Ordonez, Patsy Ponce, Tom Leuteneker, and John Tryggestad.

County officials released the following background information on the winning nominees:

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Fred Ruge, 84, devotes much of his time to help veterans of Maui through his leadership, fundraising, transportation to appointments, and guidance through the challenging path to VA benefits.  His accomplishments include: Korean War Combat Veteran, lobbying to expand Makawao Veterans Cemetery, helping create jobs for returning Afghanistan Veterans, preventing veteran suicides, extending his helping hand to the homeless, and helping the poor as a Salvation Army holiday bell ringer.

Kanee Wright, 83, is a volunteer at Hale Mahaʻolu’s Home Pumehana site in Kaunakakai, Molokaʻi. She helps by cleaning Home Pumehana’s windows, screens, tables and chairs, as well as running errands for the kitchen, office and maintenance shop, and delivering parcels.  She also volunteers her time on the road delivering nutritious meals to the island’s frail and home-bound seniors.

The Annual Outstanding Older American Awards takes place each May to recognize older Americans for their contributions, and provide them with information on how to stay healthy and active.

Judges for this year’s awards are: Audrey Rocha Reed, Director of Heritage Hall; Ronna Patty, PHN; Cesar Gaxiola, Executive Director of the Cameron Center; Scott Seto, Executive Director of Adult and Community Care branch of the Department of Human Services; and Sandy Freeman, Executive Director, Maui Adult Day Care Centers.

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