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Travel // Tourism Matters
Mufi Hannemann

Charity Walk Raises Record Amount

While the numbers haven’t been finalized, it appears that the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk was another tremendous success.

And nowhere was that more evident than in the County of Maui, which – once again – raised a record amount of money to benefit local charities.

My next “Tourism Matters” will be a recap of the walk’s success throughout the state. This week I’m devoting this space to commending and congratulating Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, the HLTA’s sister chapter, for its exceptional work on behalf of the tourism industry and community.

MHLA held its Visitor Industry Charity Walk Saturday, May 12, where a record-setting 2,500 walkers gathered at the War Memorial Soccer Field for an amazing and fun-filled morning of exercise, fellowship, great food, prizes and entertainment.

Maui’s impressive fundraising total was $530,123. When including Charity Walks on Molokai and Lanai, which MHLA hosted May 5, another $10,116 and $14,899, respectively, was raised. This brought the grand total for Maui County to $555,138. That sum far exceeded the 2011 figure, which was a then-record $492,000.

The participants included employees from the visitor industry, businesses and nonprofit organizations. In addition to entry fees and donations, many of the walkers put together fundraising efforts months prior to the event by collecting pledges, hosting bake sales, organizing chili and stew cookoffs or luaus, sponsoring car washes, and using their creativity to plan other events.

The Grand Wailea took top honors in the property division, raising $100,001. HC&S raised the most among businesses, with $11,372. Hale Makua again copped the prize among nonprofit groups, collecting $33,000. The top individual fundraiser was Mitch Mitchell, who collected $10,660. Kahana Falls generated $257 per employee, the highest in that category.

Carol Reimann, MHLA executive director, tells us, “We raised more funds than any other year in the history of the Charity Walk on Maui! We’re extremely proud to host such a successful fundraising endeavor that brings together the visitor industry and the Maui community in grand style. And most importantly, all monies raised in Maui County stay in Maui County.

“Our ability to provide for our nonprofits – especially during tough economic times – is a direct reflection of the integrity and philanthropic conviction of the fine businesses in the visitor industry.”

* The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is taking some flak from lawmakers in Congress who contend a slated conference on Maui should be held on the Mainland.

The criticism is unwarranted and baseless. Considering the 9th Circuit includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction, it makes sense for the judges to be in a place their decisions affect. Moreover, if Hawaii is good enough for the world leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, it should be good enough for lesser luminaries.

We are a proven business destination for professionals, government leaders, business leaders and everyone in between.

Brad Momohara

Costs to meet in Hawaii are comparable to other destinations – and we have a lot more to offer than many other meeting sites.

A business meeting is not a luxury, not a government boondoggle.

We’ve demonstrated that we have the capability and desire to be the “Geneva of the Pacific,” and the visit by the 9th Circuit would just be more evidence in stating our case.

MUFI’S VISITOR HEROES
Brad Momohara

Position: Guest Service Agent

Location: Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club

As a guest service agent with Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, Brad Momohara does his job very well: He checks guests in and out, handles cashier duties, answers the phone, serves as a concierge, solves problems and capably represents the hotel.

But it’s in his ability to handle any situation where he shines, and which led to his recognition as a front office person of the year at the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s annual Na Po’e Pa’ahana awards ceremony. Last June, a young guest from another country discovered his father unconscious. Unfamiliar with the 911 system, he rushed to the front desk, where he told Brad about the situation, and Brad immediately summoned emergency medical services. On his way home following his shift that day, Brad stopped by the hospital to look into the condition of these guests, only to discover that the father had passed away and the son was now alone far from home. Brad found out that this teenager enjoyed golf, so he spent his day off with the boy at Ko Olina Golf Course. He then invited the teenager to join his family for dinner and games at Dave & Buster’s. The young man was delighted with Brad’s companionship and compassion.

Brad Momohara enjoys being a soccer and football dad to three children, and also serves the country as a computer technician with the Hawaii Air National Guard.

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