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Kupuna get a day at the beach

Steven D. Kline, the activity coordinator of the Long Term Care Activities Program at Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, had reason to be excited on Tuesday when the hospital scheduled its residents beach fun day with Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital.

“It’s been three years since we last came to the beach,” said Kline while watching the crew of volunteers help the residents to and from the water at the keiki pond at Morgan’s Ponds at Lydgate Park.

“Someone saw a jellyfish in the main Morgan’s Pond, so we moved the residents to use the keiki pond,” Kline said. “We don’t want anyone getting stung.”

The effort at getting the residents to reap the health benefits of a day at the beach was monumental, with Kline pulling together different departments of the two hospitals and a score of volunteers from the community. That included the Kaua‘i Fire Department Ocean Safety Bureau, Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association, Swim Kaua‘i Aquatics, the Kapa‘a High School football team and the residents’ families.

“We had to come and help,” said Michael Tresler, head coach of the Warriors football team. “They”re our neighbors. We have to help.”

Dr. Nicholas Franklin of KVMH said this was the first time he had experienced anything like this, as he pumped up residents waiting to get into the water. He was aided by Ocean Safety Bureau lifeguards, firefighters and SKA volunteers, including Coach Curt Colby, who was one of the nominees for the Outstanding Older American recognition program during the Older Americans Month celebration in May.

“Don’t forget,” said Elsie Bayot, the recreation director at KVMH. “We have our beach day coming up on July 21 at the Salt Pond Beach Park.”

Kline said there will be another beach day scheduled in August to wrap up the summer.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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