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Kings’ Shops and United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii to honor first responders at Fourth of July celebration


In addition to bringing the community together to raise much needed funds for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii at the 22nd Annual Rubber Duckie Race, Kings’ Shops and UCPA will honor Hawaii Island’s first responders.

The race will take place July 4.

Those to be honored for their exemplary service to the island community include Capt. Sean Sommers, Capt. Brett Matsuda and Capt. Gifford Matsuoka of the South Kohala Fire Station, Officer Kyle Hirayama, Field Operations, Area II of the South Kohala Patrol, Sgt. James Correa, Field Operations, Area I of the South Hilo Patrol, and Rita Hirai, Director of Safety for Ocean Sports.

The South Kohala Fire Station responds to all calls for incidents of rescue, fire, medical emergencies, and hazardous materials 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. The company’s three shifts of seven personnel are led by three company officers — Sommers, Matsuda and Matsuokoa — who are responsible for the safety of their crews, the lives of residents and the many visitors who visit the Kohala Coast.

It takes many years of sincere dedication to master the job of leading men and women to mitigate these various types of emergencies safely and ensure all personnel return to their families at the end of their shift.

Hirayama, a nine-year veteran of the Hawaii Police Department is being recognized for the ability to share the “Spirit of Aloha” by providing great service to our community through professionalism and compassion.

Hirayama’s compassion to go and check on a family’s welfare even though his part in the investigation was complete, is in itself commendable, it also placed him at a location at the right time and possibly avoid a disastrous outcome for the entire family, and may have very well saved their lives.

Sgt. Adams said, “On this day, while dealing with a family who had just lost a loved one, he exemplified the core values of integrity, professionalism, community satisfaction, and most of all ‘compassion’.”

Sgt. James Correa, a 15-year veteran of Hawaii Police South Hilo Patrol is being recognized for his leadership of the Hawaii Police Department East Hawaii Task Force during an intense manhunt in December 2012. It was through Correa’s tireless dedication to the island wide investigation and it was under his leadership, that police officers were able to take the suspects into custody without serious injury to themselves, or anyone in the community.

Rita Hirai is a Lifeguard Instructor Trainer, American Red Cross CPR, and First Aid Instructor Trainer and Specialty Advanced Trainer.

With her many talents, Hirai is being recognized for her conscientious efforts to educate Hawaii Island community and co-workers at Ocean Sports in ocean safety.

Under Hirai’s watch, visitors and residents alike can enjoy the many ocean activities available on the Kohala Coast knowing the crew around them is well prepared for any emergency.

The Schedule of Entertainment:

10 a.m. Kahikina’s Nahenahe Ohana
11:45 a.m. Dam STR8
1 p.m. Merriman’s Watermelon Easting Contest
1:30 p.m. Celebrity Chef Ippy Aiona’s Cook-Off
3 p.m. The Great Rubber Duckie Race
3:30 p.m. Mystik Rythmz
5 p.m. Duck Waddling and Duck Calling Contests
5:30 p.m. Honoree and Awards Ceremony

Kings’ Shops, Hawaii Island’s premier shopping and dining destination, is on the Kohala Coast at 250 Waikoloa Beach Drive and managed by Jones Lang LaSalle. 

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