Keiki, spouses treated to holiday entertainment at Native Hawaiian Liaison event
December 9, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -A,A Christmas came early for spouses and children of deployed Soldiers at a holiday party at the Nehelani, here, Friday.
The spouses and keiki are members of the Blue Star Card Program, a U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii initiative.
Children from the Waianae unit of the Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center also were invited. The center provides services for orphaned and destitute children of Hawaiian heritage.
The evening included a buffet and entertainment. Additionally, USAG-HI civilian employees and the Ahahui Siwila Hawaii O Kapolei Hawaiian Civic Club donated a wrapped gift to each child.
Sponsored by the Native Hawaiian Liaison Office, USAG-HI, the event was the latest in the Distinguished Lecture Series. The Native Hawaiian Liaison Office focuses on strengthening cultural understanding and building friendships between the Army in Hawaii and the native Hawaiian community.
"This is a very, very special night, and we have a very special audience," said Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, USAG-HI. "We want our military families to be exposed to this island, to the island's beauty and to the culture of the native Hawaiian people.
"Likewise, we invite native Hawaiians on to our installations to allow them to interact with our Soldiers and their families," he said. "We in the Army want to be good neighbors; this is our home while we're here. We are here with you, and we have more in common than we have apart. We're glad you could come out tonight."
Sarah Chadwick, coordinator, Blue Star Card Program, said these types of events help families get through deployment.
"It's especially tough for our families during the holidays, so I'm happy to see you guys out here tonight," she said. "Thank you so much for coming."
"Tonight, we're going to shape our music around the word 'ohana,' which means 'family' in Hawaiian," said Aaron Mahi, director, Kamehameha School's Alumni Glee Club. "Ohana is the foundation of our community."
The club sang Christmas-themed music in English and Hawaiian, inviting the audience to participate several times.
"Let's practice those bells," Mahi said, directing the audience members to jingle their car keys in "Jingle Bells" and "Christmas in Hawaii." "Not too bad."
Mahi mentioned the glee club is made up of alumni not only from the Kamehameha Schools, but other schools as well. Some of the members have also served in the military.
Glee club member Samuel Kamaka served in the Army sometime after Pearl Harbor. He remembers training at Schofield Barracks before departing for Guadalcanal "to help clean it up."
He can't remember his unit's designation, saying that it wasn't an officially organized group. However, he did recall his rank.
"I was a private," he said, laughing.
Kamaka served two years, then returned to Hawaii and went to school on the G.I. Bill.
"It was a privilege to perform tonight," he said.