U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area opened its gates to the public on Hawaii Island May 12 to showcase what goes on inside the premier Army training base in the Saddle Region.
"This was exciting for us here, because it’s important to show the local community what we do here, and all the unique aspects of PTA and how we truly are a part of this community." said Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, U.S. Army Garrison commander. "Opening the front gates and engaging with students, kupuna, keiki and other local friends is what it’s all about."
The training base holds its open house annually, but due to COVID restrictions, the event has been on hold since 2019.
This year’s event was scaled down to accommodate the re-starting of the community event, which normally hosts upwards of 750 guests. This year, about 200 guests from all sides of Hawaii Island came to the Saddle Region from Hilo, Kona, Waimea, Waikoloa, and Volcano.
U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa holds the event each year around Earth Day, however, it was postponed this year to May.
The Army base had displays and exhibits including natural and cultural resource, police and fire departments, PTA Recycling Center, the Veterans Administration from Hilo, PTA Public Works, other military equipment displays and the United Services Organization
Patrons were able to get a hands-on feel for not only new equipment like the PTA Fire Engine 50, but also take a moment to don actual gear (helmets, jackets, protective gear) worn by the first responders at PTA.
Not to be outdone, the PTA natural resource display allowed guests to wear a flight suit, aviator helmet and take a fun-posed photo with their contracted helicopter on a mural as the backdrop. Overall it was a festive and enjoyable atmosphere for all those who attended.
PTA leadership is already leaning forward to plan for 2023.
"This was a good start for us, and we really are excited to see how 2023 shapes up particularly with those from the community participating who normally have a booth or display here," Cronin said.