We Heal and We Rise Together!
There is no question we’ve all heard stories of unimaginable tragedy that presented in the wake of the Lahaina fires. Not to brush aside the great sense of grief but I’d like to bring some “phoenix out of the ashes” stories into light. Alongside the tragedies, there have been and there are also the enormous triumphs.
Paddle Out for Lahaina
A massive effort was seen on September 8th. Maui saw a kaleidoscope of color in the waters off Ukumehame. Islanders united in the hundreds for a huge paddle out in boats, surfboards, SUPs and kayaks. From the water, chants and prayers were offered up, tears were shed, flowers were strewn in honor of lives lost and hope was shared. This commemorative community event spilled over to the shoreline with music, food, mental wellness resources and children’s activities to mark the day with joy.
With Encouragement from Afar
I’ve lived in Maui for almost 27 years, which is just shy of my nephew Brendan’s 28 years! Alas, Brendan has been coming to Maui from England almost every year of his life. It was no surprise that when the fires devastated Lahaina, it struck a deep chord of sorrow with my family in England as it has done for so many with heartfelt connections to and with family in Maui.
Brendan is a talented singer/songwriter and a masterful music teacher. He’s actually played a few gigs over the years at Mulligan’s in Wailea. His personal challenge for 2023 was to complete an Ironman. As a result he’s been training for the best part of this year. And complete it he did, most spectacularly!
Swim, Cycle, Run for Maui!
On 23 September 23, Brendan set out on a gray Saturday morning in London and proceeded to tackle what turned out to be a 16.5 hour marathon consisting of a 1 hour 34 minute swim, 7 hour 48 minute bike ride and 4 hour and 54 minute run.
Brendan says he felt helpless that he couldn’t physically help the people of Lahaina. In turn, he set about raising money for Maui. “I usually raise money for Mind, a mental health charity in the UK. But with the Maui fires in August I decided to re-direct my efforts to Maui Strong. I am lucky enough to call Maui my second home. I wanted to make a difference by raising money to get this beautiful little island back on its feet again.” Brendan’s sole effort to date has brought in over $1200 in donations for Maui.
The last hour of his challenge running through London streets in the middle of the night saw him giving his greatest push beyond the pain barrier. Instead, he concentrated on his pledge to Maui Strong.
Footnote here, as you might imagine, I’m very proud to be his aunt!
Maui Humane Society’s Tireless Effort and Devotion Pays Off
Remarkably there are daily wins for the Maui Humane Society who have been working tirelessly to recover lost pets and reunite them with their Lahaina families. In a most recent recovery effort, Jaguar was captured 50 days after the Lahaina fire and reunited with his family.
The Maui Humane Society continues its need for emergency foster homes for its animals to help make space for new displaced pets. There is an ongoing request for pet supplies like wet and dry food, litter and pop-up kennels.
There is Aloha in Volunteering
And lastly, please remember that Maui is not closed. In fact “Respect the West, visit the rest” has become a truism. Maui County’s Mayor Bissen said in a recent interview that although people shouldn’t expect to go to Lahaina, “the rest of Maui needs tourists.” The disaster has seen far reaching effects. As such, tourism needs to see its own recovery.
In the past month we have seen some of our visitors show up to volunteer in various capacities. It’s heartwarming to see the outpouring of fellowship and unity for Maui! Think that you might like to get involved? Here’s how, visit MAUI NUI STRONG. Also, the website www.handsonmaui.com offers an ongoing interactive informative service to the community. Here, non-profit agencies register and residents and visitors are able to search directly for volunteer opportunities. Volunteering might add a new dimension to your next visit.
Now is a great time to plan your trip to Maui. Maui is Open! Come, take your seat at the beach!