Monday, August 17, 2009

Plenty of aloha for Inouye at KPT

Source: Honolulu Advertiser, August 16, 2009

Kuhio Park Terrace got a visit from an old friend yesterday as U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye met with residents and toured the facility as part of National Community Service Day.

Inouye, who established the housing project's Kameha'ikana resource center with $13 million in U.S. Department of Labor funds in 2003, was joined by fellow U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, Hawai'i Public Housing Authority executive director Chad Taniguchi and others.

"It means a lot for everyone to have Sen. Inouye visit because he played such a major role in the development of these buildings and because he is so highly regarded in the Samoan community," said Robert Faleafine, president of Realty Laua, which manages the property.

About 100 Bank of Hawaii employees and their families joined more than 200 residents in painting and repairing 15 vacant units and cleaning the grounds.

BOH regional manager and senior vice president Danny Kim said his first visit to Kuhio Park Terrace was a memorable one.

"It's a beautiful facility and the people were very nice," said Kim, who came with his 12-year-old son, Micah. "Still, when you go into the units, it opens your eyes and you feel fortunate and blessed for what you have. At the same time, you also realize that you have an obligation and a responsibility to help others."

Resident Jackson Nithan, 36, spent the morning picking up trash around the periphery of the property, a job that left him shaking his head in disgust.

"There was plastic and garbage all along the fences," he said. "It really needed to be cleaned up. It was very, very dirty, and that's not healthy for the people that live here."

Nithan also attended a financial advising seminar in which Bank of Hawaii representatives offered tips for establishing and maintaining a budget, building savings and planning for the future.

"It was awesome," Nithan said. "I realized that I have to quit smoking so I can save money — hundreds of dollars — for my kids for school. It was very helpful."

Neighbor Cathsy Nathan, 23, agreed.

"I like to spend money, but afterward I feel like crying," she said. "They told us how to budget our money and save for the future."

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