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Palaka Award & Golf Drop

Rotary club to hold ceremony and fundraiser.

June 9, 2011
Maui Weekly

The Rotary club will announce the recipient of the award, who was selected from a field of 15 nominated finalists, at a luncheon in the golf club’s Waikapū Room. Hawai‘i Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will serve as the event’s keynote speaker.

The Mike Lyons Palaka Award, created to honor Lyons’ commitment to community, is presented for outstanding long-term service to a leader of one of Maui’s nonprofit organization.

“The Palaka Award is the ultimate accolade,” said Leslie Mullens, Rotary Club of Kahului president. “It acknowledges consistent and meaningful hands-on philanthropy while honoring Mike Lyons’ legacy as one of Maui’s most inspiring leaders.”

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The Rotary Club of Kahului will hold its annual Mike Lyons Palaka Award luncheon on Friday, June 24, which honors Maui’s nonprofit leaders. The award is named for Lyons’ signature palaka shirts.

Throughout his career, Lyons served on the boards of numerous community groups and was instrumental in founding several nonprofit organizations on the island. Among his many roles, he served as founder and chairman of the Maui Economic Development Board; governor of District 5000 (Hawai‘i) Rotary International; president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce, Kahului Rotary Club and the J. Walter Cameron Center; chairman of Maui United Way; and treasurer and board member of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

“Lyons was the epitome of a Rotarian and a prominent, tireless Maui figure,” added Mullens.

Lyons passed away on March 26, 2004, leaving a legacy that continues to impact and inspire to this day. The award is named for his signature palaka shirts.

The field of nominees exemplifies the highest ideals of volunteer service to a nonprofit organization and the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”

This year’s finalists are: Janet Allan of Maui Nui Botanical Gardens; Victor Bellarosa of Light Bringers Rescue Mission; Judy Bisgard of the Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center; Robert Chapman of Haleakalä Waldorf School; Jim and Edna DiFalco of the St. Theresa’s Church Hale Kau Kau program; Barbara Guild of Sugar Cove AOAO; Diane Haynes Woodburn of Ka Lima O Maui Ltd.; Helen McCord of Aloha House, Maui Youth & Family Services and Malama Family Recovery Center; Helen Nielsen of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust; Rob Shelton of the Lahainaluna High School Foundation; and Debbie Sutherland of Imua Family Services.

“The caliber of the entire nominee field is extraordinary and an inspiration,” said Mullens. “Their volunteer work and organizations will be recognized and applauded by the entire Maui community.”

The innovative golf ball drop fundraiser will be held just prior to the luncheon. Participants are asked to make a cash donation to acquire one or more numbered golf balls, which will be dropped from a helicopter 250 feet above a target on the King Kamehameha Golf Club driving range. Balls landing closest to the target will be awarded prizes, including a Napa Valley Getaway and a Grand Wailea Hotel Staycation package.

Net proceeds from the golf ball drop directly fund Rotary Club of Kahului’s Michael H. Lyons II Scholarship program, which provides college scholarships for exceptional Maui youth.

“We are also most grateful to Alexander & Baldwin, Inc./A&B Foundation [title sponsor] their support of this year’s award and events,” added Mullens.

Registration and networking begins at 11 a.m., followed by the golf ball drop at noon, just prior to the awards luncheon.



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