Ewa Beach Taking Care Of Fire Victims

An Ewa Beach-based halau entertained the crowd with Tahitian dancing during the fundraiser. Photo by Lawrence Tabudlo, ltabudlo@midweek.com.

An Ewa Beach-based halau entertained the crowd with Tahitian dancing during the fundraiser. Photo by Lawrence Tabudlo, ltabudlo@midweek.com.

When a fire tore through several apartments at Kulana Village in Ewa Beach June 6, Kevin Tabangcura and his family made it out unscathed. But their home wasn’t so lucky.

“The back patio is pretty much destroyed, as well as most of our kitchen,” he said.

The living room and the bedrooms also were heavily damaged from smoke and water. Plus, a lot of their belongings, including clothes, bedding, furniture and electronics, were destroyed. Unable to return to their home for the past three months, Tabangcura, his parents and brother have been living with his uncle in Waipio.

The Tabangcuras are among several families at Kulana Village who face significant damage — and the bills that come with it — to their homes following the fire. But thanks to a joint effort in the community, they’re not facing it alone.

A collective of individuals from various community groups, including Ewa Beach Lions Club, Ewa Beach Community Based Development Organization, Ewa Beach Elementary School and Campbell High School banded together to put on the Malama Kulana Village Ohana Festival fundraiser last month to support the families with money for needed repairs. Held at Pohakea Elementary School, the event included live entertainment, food, crafts and rides — the proceeds of which all benefitted the families impacted by the fire.

“I was pretty stoked about it,” Tabangcura admitted. “That other people in the community helped my family and the other families who are affected is great. It just shows that the spirit of Aloha is still alive.”

A majority of the fundraiser’s organizers also are Ewa Beach residents.

“People from our Ewa Beach community care about each other, and we feel for the families in the Kulana Villages complex that were displaced,”

explained Ewa Beach CBDO executive director Christiane Bolosan-Yee. “We just want to help.”

It especially hit close to home for Ewa Beach CBDO members because Tabangcura is one of their own; he volunteers with the group’s board of directors.

“Our thought was, if this happened to you, wouldn’t it be great to know that you have your community neighbors that are there to support you in your time of need?” Bolosan-Yee said.

With that mission in mind, the event organizers hope to sponsor similar events in the future as an ongoing effort to help area families in need.

“We are hoping to do this fundraising event annually … to create a set of funds to be used if at any time families are affected by any tragic loss,” Bolosan-Yee explained.

The fundraiser netted a total just shy of $3,000.

“We are just going to try to save (the money), so we can restart our lives over again and try to replace some of the things that we lost in the fire,” said Tabangcura.

But despite the fire’s aftermath, Tabangcura is grateful that it’s only material possessions they’re missing.

“That is all stuff that can be replaced, you know?” he said.