The East Hawaii Program for VASH (Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii) Hawaii Island honored its volunteers, board members and program partners for their generous contribution of time, support and outstanding service during its annual VASH Ohana Mahalo Luncheon on June 25 at the Hilo Yacht Club.
East Hawaii Program Director Jeanine Acia welcomed attendees and expressed her privilege to be in the presence of all the volunteers, partners and community contributors who help VASH with its mission to assist tourists who experienced an adversity while traveling on the Big Island.
“It was a celebration of their aloha and compassion,” Acia said.
Hawaii Police Department Assistant Chief Henry Tavares was the keynote speaker at the luncheon.
Tavares provided insight into the department’s partner relationship with VASH Hawaii Island, noting the importance of VASH and its services to visitors facing unfortunate events.
“Thanks to our partnership with VASH, we can turn around a bad experience so the visitor leaves satisfied with our response and grateful for our compassion. On behalf of the men and women of the Hawaii Police Department, I thank VASH for helping our department, loving our visitors, and truly sharing the spirit of aloha,” Tavares said.
VASH Hawaii Island, a nonprofit corporation, receives funding in part from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and has provided caring assistance to visitors facing adversity during their visit to Hawaii Island since 2000.
The team of program directors, visitor assistants and volunteers offers assistance to any who face adversity during their visit to Hawaii Island.They provide countless hours of compassionate and practical help to ensure visitors in need get assistance during times of tragedy — food, clothing, shelter, medical support, transportation, interpreters.
VASH Hawaii Island served 1,247 visitors in need in 2013.
For more information or to become a volunteer, contact Executive Director Hilde Shetler at 756-0392 or visit www.vashbigisland.org.