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Molokai Resident Assists with Harvey Storm Recovery


Lester Keanini. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Red Cross

Molokai resident and Red Cross volunteer Lester Keanini is among 16 Hawaii Red Cross members deplayed to the mainland to assist with those devastated by Tropical Storm Harvey. Keanini is currently in Texas assisting with sheltering of the thousands of people who had to leave their homes during flooding.

Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers from all over the country are deployed to Texas and Louisiana. From Hawaii, Keanini joins  five volunteers from Hawaii Island, four from Maui, and six from Oahu who are assisting in relief efforts ranging from damage assessment, bulk distribution, sheltering, community partnerships, feeding and disaster mental health, according to the Hawaii Red Cross. More Hawaii volunteers are on standby to possibly deploy.

Keanini has traveled across the country, dedicated thousands of volunteer hours and even made a move to Maui — all to support the Red Cross. For this dedication, he was awarded the honor of Maui County Volunteer of the Year in 2014.

Keanini started working with the Red Cross on Molokai in 2009 and was assigned as Molokai Disaster Team Leader at that time. There were only a few volunteers with the organization on the island at that time. Now, there are many more, thanks in large part to Keanini’s recruitment efforts, said Michele Liberty, Red Cross Maui director, in a 2014 Dispatch article.

According to national news sources, Tropical Storm Harvey has caused more than $1.8 billion in damages in Texas. Harvey hit the state on Aug. 25, the most powerful hurricane to affect Texas in more than 50 years. It has resulted in more than 50 deaths, displaced more than one million people from their homes and caused damage to at least 200,000 homes lying in its path for more than 300 miles. Flooding is expected to continue for two more weeks.

The Red Cross said in response to Harvey, making a monetary donation to the organization through their website is more effective in helping to provide aid to those in need than sending donations of food or clothing.


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