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Special Olympics fundraiser meets $50,000 goal

There were 2,000 golf balls sold on Friday, and nine of the 10 driving range bays were already sold out at the Rockin’ Range fundraiser for the Kaua‘i Special Olympics set up at The Ocean Course at Hokuala.

“At this rate, we should be able to make our $50,000 goal,” said Bart Thomas of the Ko‘a Kea Hotel, who was able to get Danny Aki to come out of retirement to enjoy the night activities using special illuminated golf balls.

Thomas teamed with Kaua‘i Special Olympics’ Lisa Aki and Coach Leona Sa McDermott to pull Rockin’ Range together as a fun way to end a work week with a night activity.

In addition to raising funds for Kaua‘i Special Olympics by sponsoring teams of up to 10 people for the driving range bays, the event was broken down into a children’s hour where the Kaua‘i Special Olympics athletes had an opportunity to explore the game of golf with the help of some of Kaua‘i’s golf professionals.

An Airborne Aviation helicopter heightened the late afternoon excitement, as the red helicopter lofted the barrels containing the 2,000 sold golf balls for a ball drop that served as the mark between the children’s and adult games.

Priscilla Wang, the reigning Miss Hawai‘i International, thrilled the Special Olympics athletes with a special visit to the event that got help from local sports stars like the Kapa‘a High School girls basketball team that recently made history by winning the first-ever state Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division II title for the school and the island. Team members included the state tournament’s Most Valuable DII Player and Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year Olivia Malafu.

The Lady Warriors were joined by members of the Kaua‘i High School girls basketball team and 2023 Youth of the Year candidate David Braman from the Boys & Girls Club Lihu‘e Clubhouse.

Braman is also a former Team Unify member from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, where a Special Olympics athlete is paired with a student to compete in events, such as track and field, bowling and more.

Team Unify also announced a fundraiser for Special Olympics. The Unity Run will be a glow-in-the-dark event on April 28 at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School’s field and covered play court.

In addition to doing night golf with the specially illuminated golf ball and illuminated driving range bay boxes, participating golfers also enjoyed the Island Brewing tent, food and live entertainment.

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

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