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RSVP National Day of Service draws a crowd

LIHU‘E — Gov. David Ige, in a special message read by Janice Bond, thanked those who responded to the 9/11 incident in 2001, and invited everyone to come together in service.

“In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, our country galvanized a spirit of service and unity as a way to effectively cope with unimaginable loss, and honor the victims of the attack,” Ige said in his message. “Similarly, two decades later, the call to service and volunteerism remains equally strong. With COVID-19 still impacting lives, the need for assistance within our own community is ever present. Therefore, all citizens are encouraged to find a service project that inspires passion and a lifetime of service.”

The Kaua‘i RSVP Program, and the county’s Agency on Elderly Affairs coordinated the event that features more than 30 vendors offering volunteer opportunities. These are the same organizations and groups that offer service to the communities.

“This year marks 21 years since Sept. 11, 2001,” said Kealoha Takahashi, the Executive on Aging, Agency of Elderly Affairs. “We continue to honor the sacrifices made that day by remembering the heroes, armed forces, first responders, the countless others’ acts of service to defend our nation’s freedom. The community is encouraged to honor, serve, and unite by engaging in service on this day, and going forward.”

And, the people responded.

“Brian and I can’t do this anymore because of medical reasons,” said Coleen Kasperek who has been at the head of the AARP Taxaide program that is a lifeline for many kupuna during tax time. “We’ve already gotten three prospective volunteers, and are working on a fourth candidate. The more we have, the less we need to work, and the more seniors we can provide service to. We just have a lot of fun.”

Among those checking out the different vendors available, Candace Boxer and Greg Askew, former owners of Ono Pops, came from a medical appointment for Boxer.

“See how it is?” Boxer said. “We just sold Ono Pops, and now, we have to take care of things like this. And Greg is going to find something to volunteer with now that he doesn’t sell frozen treats, anymore.”

Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, paying a visit to each of the 35 participating vendors, said on Sept. 11, 2009, the day the President of the United States issued the Patriot Day Proclamation, the observance officially and permanently became the National Day of Service and Remembrance, the designated observance calling on all interested Americans to participate in this observance through moments of silence, flying of the flag of the United States at half-staff, as well as community service and charitable activities in tribute and remembrance.
Source: The Garden Island

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