Celebrating Police Week; Ferry Service?
President John F. Kennedy’s idea of a National Police Week to honor police officers throughout the country is being observed this week. In terms of this year’s observance, the timing couldn’t have been better, with the controversy that has erupted in the city of Baltimore. Fortunately for Hawaii, we were spared the hostility and violence that struck other jurisdictions.
At the end of the day, I’ve always maintained that the No. 1 objective of every city is the public health and safety of its residents and visitors. With some exceptions, we have been very lucky to have some of the best men and women in blue throughout the nation protecting and defending us.
One of the ways to say mahalo to a police officer during their special week is to highlight some of the volunteer and community service being done by law-enforcement officers. As a youngster who grew up in Kalihi, I am indebted to those police officers who helped make the Police Activities League (PAL) a fun and meaningful activity for the youths and their parents, when I played baseball and basketball for Kalakaua AC. They were role models and augmented the strong support we received from our coaches for the league to flourish.
I like what FBI supervisory agent and former Honolulu and Hawaii County police officer Ed Ignacio is doing to raise badly needed funds for Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation’s (HLEMF) efforts to erect a permanent monument to fallen officers. He races in triathlons wearing BDUs — 40-50 pounds of gear strapped to his body and head in the form of a ballistic vest and helmet. Hawaii is the only state in the union that does not have such a memorial — a fact that wasn’t lost on Ignacio during his tour of living and working in several Mainland cities as an FBI agent.
“Having known Chief Kealoha and SHOPO head Tenari Ma’afala since I was a member of the force in the ’90s, I know and am familiar with eight of the 65 fallen officers,” states Ignacio, whose roots run deep in Molokai, where I first met him competing in the annual George Helm basketball tournament. “Even though I am not a police officer today, it doesn’t matter. I’m still a member of the law-enforcement community and I’ve never forgotten my roots. I want our fallen brothers and their families to know we will honor their loved ones in a highly respectful and dignified way through this memorial.”
Next up on his grueling schedule of nine competitions (he completed one so far this year) are Honolulu Triathlon May 17 and Ironman 70.3 (half the Ironman distance) on the Big Island May 30. Thus far, he has raised $14,000. If you wish to support and cheer him on along with other police officers he has recruited to join him, please consider donating to his extremely worthwhile cause by going online to https://www.crowdrise.com/2015OtherRaces/fundraiser/edwardignacio.
Run, Ed, run …
Visiting Cuba has always been a fascination of mine, and is definitely on my bucket list. President Obama’s initiative of normalizing diplomatic relations with the Caribbean island nation struck a resonant chord with me as a welcome and timely foreign policy change that is long overdue.
I also am pleased that the U.S. government has just approved the first private-sector license to restart a ferry service between our two countries, thereby offering consumers a couple of options, either by air or sea, to travel and engage in commerce.
The likelihood of a ferry operating between Florida and Cuba should provide the impetus for our government officials to focus on restarting a private ferry operation between our islands. Wouldn’t it be great to remove the stigma of the Hawaiian Island chain being one of the few archipelagoes in the world where such a service doesn’t exist?
With Mother’s Day 2015 celebrated this past Sunday, I couldn’t help but continue to reflect on my mom, Faiaso. Two passages come to mind when I think of her, and the special responsibility that all mothers have in raising their children. The Talmud says, “God couldn’t be everywhere, so He created Mothers.” In the Book of Proverbs we read, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies ….”
This year took on additional significance for my ohana because May 7 was the centennial date of my mom’s birth. It’s amazing that, with each passing year, especially since my momma departed this good earth for a better place at the tender age of 58, I become more and more impressed with the wisdom and sage advice she imparted to me and my siblings. Once, when I asked her why I was being disciplined so harshly for breaking curfew, when other kids were allowed to go on as if nothing happened, she responded, “Because I love you and you need to set the example.”
When I was the first one in my extended family to go 6,000 miles away from home to college on the East Coast, and well-meaning folks would express concern that her “momma’s boy” may get homesick and come home at the first sign of adversity, she countered affirmatively, “I raised him right and that Muliufi knows what his parents want him to do.”
And when I would give a talk at a church service or school, and I queried her on why were her eyes shut and appeared tense during the whole time I was speaking, she replied, “I’m praying, son, that you will deliver your speech well and not forget your lines.”
My parents were insistent that we always memorize our talks or speak and pray from the heart.
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, permit me also, through her daughters Pam and Karen, to pay tribute to another special woman, who lived to be 100 years old.
Cecilia Blackfield built a reputation for being one of Hawaii’s greatest conservationists before she died. She personified what it meant to be “green” in her outlook and approach to life and the environment.
She loved serving on the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation Board, and that’s why mayors from Neal Blaisdell to yours truly didn’t hesitate to call on her to serve. In fact, I reappointed her to the Parks Board when she was in her 90s because she continued to be passionate and enthusiastic about sharing her ideas with me — from planting trees to the Natatorium. I always considered it to be a choice and precious moment to chat with her or break bread at her lovely residence in Kahala. Needless to say, her teachings and exhortations remain embedded in my heart and soul.
The next time you are enjoying the beauty and splendor of Magic Island, McCoy Pavillion at Ala Moana Park, Diamond Head, Kapiolani Park and the garden at Honolulu International Airport, think of Cecilia Blackfield, look to the sky and give a nod and a smile to an incredible lady who left Honolulu better than she found it when she first stepped foot on our shores fresh off the SS Lurline nearly 80 years ago.