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Lifestyle // Good Neighbors
Christina O’Connor

Lisa Chun, HAWAIIUSA

HawaiiUSA

Some members of HawaiiUSA’s Pearl City branch Polar Plunge team: (back) Nate Brown, Natasha Daley, Jaci Miyashiro, (front) Vera Kim-Todd and Lisa Chun. Photo courtesy HawaiiUSA FCU

On April 1, daring volunteers from around the island will jump into a pool filled with 10 tons of ice. While this may sound like a torturous task, the participants are braving the cold in the name of Special Olympics Hawaii, which provides year-round activities for children and adults with disabilities.

Polar Plunge raises money and awareness for Special Olympics athletes. Among the participants is presenting sponsor HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, which has been volunteering with Special Olympics since 2007. HawaiiUSA AVP-Community & Business Development Lisa Chun says that the company’s employees are eager to help at Special Olympics events.

“Every year, our employees always are all waiting to help,” Chun says of the company’s annual involvement with the Summer Games.

As the presenting sponsor of this year’s Polar Plunge, HawaiiUSA is working to raise money for Special Olympics. To reach its financial goals, HawaiiUSA is selling Polar Plunge icons at all of its branches, conducting internal fundraising campaigns and collecting donations.

HawaiiUSA employees also have a friendly competition going: The staff has been divided into teams for fundraising, and the losing team has to get in the water. Plus, a group of 20 HawaiiUSA employees – including Chun – has volunteered to take the plunge whether they win or lose.

“I’m very impressed with the Special Olympics,” Chun says. “There are so many athletes, and Special Olympics only has seven full-time employees. They work so hard, and they impact so many people.

“Since we have been volunteering since 2007, we have gotten to know a lot of the athletes, coaches and parents,” Chun adds. “The (athletes) always come show us the medal that they won. You can’t put a price tag on that.”

In addition to its work with Special Olympics, HawaiiUSA also is involved with a number of other volunteer efforts. Chun explains that giving back to the community is an integral part of the company’s mission, and it strives to help bring recognition to a variety of nonprofit organizations. This year, the company also will work with March of Dimes, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Shriners Hospital and Lanakila Pacific, in addition to continuing its work at the Special Olympics Summer Games.

Polar Plunge takes place on the lawn at Waterfront Plaza beginning at 10 a.m. The event also will feature a costume contest, food and entertainment. For more information or to register to plunge, visit specialolympicshawaii.org.

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