Living on an island with friends, family and loved ones has a way of keeping everyone close. We share our challenges and triumphs with each other, and this helps keep the Maui community strong and connected. When we find out that people need help, or that people are doing good work for others, it’s not like watching a commercial about something happening somewhere that feels like a million miles away. It’s about people we know. It’s about our families, our friends, and their families.
Over the past weekend, we were honored to attend Kokua for Kupuna, which means help for our elders. This was a benefit on behalf of Hale Makua Health Services, a non-profit organization which provides home health care, day health, and in-home care for Maui seniors. At this benefit, we had the privilege of accepting an award on behalf of the late Sue D. Cooley, a dear friend, a philanthropist, and a guiding star for those who want to make a difference in their community without looking for anything in return.
The life and legacy of Sue were honored at this year’s benefit, where we shared our profound gratitude for her generosity to Hale Makua. Over her lifetime, she gave more than $4.6 million, making it possible for Hale Makua Kahului to efficiently prepare over 1,000 meals per day to the elders who need them. Her generosity also funded the master planning process for the Hale Makua Kahului and Wailuku locations.
As we accepted the award on behalf of Sue, in an ocean of gratitude for her generosity and for our own commitment to Hale Makua, we reminded everyone what Sue would say when given thanks. She would answer, “No, thank you. It’s about the community. It’s about all of us coming together. I’m just one person, and this is what I was able to do.” Her message was that everyone’s help is equally important.
She was proven right by the wonderful turnout at Kokua for Kupuna, which was a very special evening that we were lucky to share with wonderful family and friends in our Maui community on behalf of Hale Makua. The generosity of the guests and sponsors will go a long way to help Hale Makua continue to provide exceptional care for our kupuna. To all of you who participated, as Sue would never forget to say: Thank you!