He was hopeful his birthday wish would come true, but he said, at first, he didn’t think many people would respond. “But the gifts keep coming in,” he reported. “It’s incredible and very exciting!”
It all began a few weeks ago, when a friend of Kimokeo’s proposed to gift ‘Ao‘ao O Na Loko I‘a O Maui (Association of the Fishponds of Maui) with $5,000 if the group raised $5,000 on its own.
He has been receiving “gifts” for his beloved fishpond project ever since.
“It’s been overwhelming to see the support from Kimokeo’s friends,” said Executive Director Joylynn Paman. “We’ve received numerous gifts locally as well as from the Mainland. We’ve raised over $2,000!”
“Uncle Kimokeo,” a tireless advocate for Maui’s precious ‘āina, has served as the association’s president since 2000, guiding the nonprofit through an environmental planning process, spearheading fishpond wall restoration efforts, and helping to secure funds and partnerships. He also uses his paddling expertise to run a fundraising program for the fishpond by giving interpretive cultural tours of the fishpond from the seat of an outrigger canoe.
In 2005, Kimokeo received the prestigious National Volunteer of the Year Award from NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for his volunteer accomplishments at the whale sanctuary, and he was also selected as the Maui Weekly’s Person of the Year in 2008 for his many contributions to the community.
“I’m not surprised to see these gifts coming in,” said Paman. “Kimokeo is a man who has lived a life of aloha, and now he’s asking those that he has touched to share their aloha and support the fishpond.”
The association still needs to raise $3,000 to match the donor’s contribution, so the donation deadline has been extended to the end of December.
Your donations will not only honor Kimokeo, but the past, present and future of the ‘āina.
To make a donation to the fishpond association, visit www.mauifishpond.com'>www.mauifishpond.com. Donations may also be made payable to ‘Ao‘ao O Na Loko I‘a O Maui, P.O. Box 1371 Kīhei, HI 96753.
Debra Lordan, Editor/General Manager