By ERIN MILLER
Gov. Neil Abercrombie praised former County Council Chairman Pete Hoffmann Tuesday for the Waikoloa resident’s dedication to the island and to community service.
Abercrombie stopped in Kona to present Hoffmann, one of Hawaii County’s two Outstanding Older American of the Year awardees earlier this year, with a commendation from himself and another from the state Senate. Abercrombie said when he decided to run for the state’s executive office, Hoffmann was one of the first County Council members he sought out.
“I knew he had the people of Hawaii County in his heart,” Abercrombie said. “He had committed himself to the people of the Big Island.”
The governor quoted poet Samuel Ullman, who once wrote, “Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of red cheeks, red lips and supple knees. It is a temper of the will; a quality of the imagination; a vigor of the emotions; it is a freshness of the deep springs of life.”
That could describe Hoffmann, Abercrombie said.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz also sent a representative to present Hoffmann with a commendation.
Hoffmann served four terms on the County Council and has volunteered with the West Hawaii Community Health Center board, helped found the Waikoloa Community Development Corp., organized the Waikoloa Senior Center, chaired the Twenty-first Century Learning Center, ran a school supply drive at Waikoloa Elementary School, and worked with the Hawaii Island Food Basket, Meals on Wheels and the Senior Summer Produce Board.
He encouraged other kupuna to step up and volunteer.
“We have so much to offer our community,” Hoffmann said, invoking the idea of kupuna power. “I ask that each and every one of you, regardless of what you have done, don’t give up on the idea that you have contributions to offer. Please continue to offer the contributions of your time and talents.”
Abercrombie was visiting each county this month to honor their Outstanding Older American Award winners. The county’s female Outstanding Older American was Hilo resident Shirley Ito.