Kathy Muneno might be a familiar face to many as weekday evening anchor for KHON2 News. But offscreen, she does many amazing things for the community.
Muneno worked at Grove Farm Company, a land management and community development company on Kauai, coordinating its environmental programs, and also worked as a volunteer for Polynesian Voyaging Society, helping to coordinate its voyage to Micronesia and Japan in 2007.
She also volunteers at Children’s Justice Center of Oahu, which serves child victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse and children who witness a violent crime. She’s been a volunteer at the center for about 15 years, and became a board member in 2012.
“It was and is heartbreaking and amazing in so many ways,” she explains. “As a volunteer, I would play with the children as they waited to be interviewed by police or social workers – this is following a report of abuse.
“We have to protect and support our children, and let them know that we are here to help them along the way. As a board member now, the FCJCO (Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Oahu) supports the center, which is part of the state Judiciary. We raise funds to provide the foster care bags … I’m honored to be a part of this important work.”
Muneno joined the KHON2 News team in May 2007 to co-anchor the morning show with Kirk Matthews, Trini Kaopuiki and Manolo Morales.
“2008 was quite a year for me,” she admits. “Our (she and husband Nainoa Thompson) home burned down, then a few weeks later we found out I was pregnant. Then a few weeks later we found out we were having twins, and several months later we had twins, a boy and a girl (Na’inoa and Punana, now 4 years old).”
She then made the switch to weekend weather anchor at KHON2 in the fall of 2009.
“It enabled me to be with my babies more and I could be awake – it was difficult with the early morning hours,” says Muneno, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover Dec. 12, 2001.
She now anchors the 5 p.m. news with Justin Cruz Monday to Friday. And she couldn’t be happier, despite having two “full-time” jobs.
“It’s a lot of work,” Muneno says of her children and job. “Many say it’s more than just double the work, and I would have to agree. But I also know it’s a lot of work for those who don’t have twins.
“I guess it’s the same for all children, but ours are so very different in almost every possible way – looks, personality, what they like to eat and do, sleeping rhythms – so I don’t see them as twins.
“For the twins, it’s really nice that they have each other, and they watch out for each other quite nicely.”