AmeriCorps Youth Honor Veterans
Interval House Molokai Press Release
Our Molokai High School AmeriCorps youth members chose to honor our Molokai veterans for the Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Ida Pongmulee, Sonja Angst and Journey Miguel joined other Americans to unite in service in remembrance of the remarkable way that so many came together following the attacks in 2001.
Our AmeriCorps group was warmly greeted by Commodore Sam Makaiwi, Secretary Allen Diorec, and Watch Commander Ronald Pelekai who proudly gave us an impressive tour of their Veterans Caring for Veterans Center. Thanking our veterans for all they have done for our country, Sonja presented them with a poster highlighting beloved veteran, Larry Helm, which she inscribed with, “In loving memory of Larry Helm.” Her vivid depiction brought Larry’s fight to build the Veterans Center to life.
The students were surprised to learn that our little island has proportionally the largest percentage of veterans in the state. The displayed memorabilia made everyone acutely aware of Molokai’s contributions and sacrifices during World War II, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. We also discovered that our Veterans Center is the only center owned by veterans in our state. Ida reflected on the experience, “I think it was really empowering to meet veterans who are treasures, not only for our community, but also for our nation. Speaking with our veterans was like getting an oral history lesson. Their stories deserve to be told.”
Along with other AmeriCorps members, Ida, Sonja and Journey grew robust oregano, green onions, cherry tomatoes, basil, lemon grass and malabar spinach to start a garden to nourish our veterans. This is in keeping with a “Healthy Futures” national AmeriCorps initiative. The students also baked 10 dozen special flag shaped red, white and blue shortbread cookies for our veterans Journey found, ”Our experience was touching because my uncle was a veteran. I finally found out what POW and MIA mean.” Sonja added, “I’ve never been to the veterans center. The building is beautiful, the vets were friendly and their stories are moving. I think more people should visit!”
We would like to thank our Molokai veterans again for sharing their powerful stories and for their courage in serving our country. A mahalo also goes out to partner Molokai LIVE 21st Century Community Learning Center, especially master baker Jessica Saienni, who guided the cookie making process at the Molokai Middle School kitchen facility.
AmeriCorps is a national service program that offers youth and adults an opportunity to apply skills and ideals toward helping others while meeting critical needs in the community. Interval House Molokai is located in the Kualapuu Business Center, Suite 201. Please contact Interval House Molokai Site Coordinator Siri Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 567-9067 for more information.