Paving Molokai One Day at a Time
The story of a man who brought progress to Molokai without changing the island.
By Léo Azambuja
Dale Moore can be seen sweeping the area surrounding Moore Center quite often. The small-framed hard worker would probably tell you he is the janitor. And you would most likely believe in those deep-blue eyes. After all, the man who refuses to retire has a keen sense of delivering credibility after working for the same company for over 56 years.
Moore is the head boss at Goodfellow Bros. Inc. on Molokai. But he is also a lot more than that, the man who moves as if there was never a cloud of worry over his head was responsible for bringing Goodfellow to Hawaii over 30 years ago.
Large building companies often mean large-scale development, something Molokai fights to keep from arriving on its shores. Moore might have been the perfect man to have brought Goodfellow to Molokai, since the company brought more comfort than development to Island residents. The company built Kalaupapa Airport and Manila Camp, among other projects.
Three brothers Jack, Bert and Jim Sr. founded Goodfellow Bros. Inc. in 1921. The company specializes in large construction projects, such as airports, dams, paving roads and housing developments.
In the early 1970s, already working for Goodfellow for over 20 years, Moore was faced with a decision that would change his life. He was finishing up a job in Montana, when the company’s owner called him and offered an option to transfer to either Hawaii or Alaska.
“Two weeks later I was in Hawaii,” Moore said.
Moore went to almost every major Hawaiian Island to set up offices for Goodfellow. The only island he didn’t want anything to do with was Oahu. “I never did really like the big city,” Moore said. “We had enough managers to start an office there.”
Once offices were set up, Moore was given a choice to become regional manager on his preferred location. He never had any doubts Molokai was the place he wanted to be.
On Molokai, he would see Beverly Pauole quite often. She was working at the unemployment agency and would constantly send over residents to Goodfellow.
Moore nursed a secret crush on Beverly. One day he thought he saw her at the airport, holding a little girl. He approached her and asked if the girl was her daughter. Yes, the lady and the girl were indeed mother and daughter. But the lady was Annette, Beverly’s twin sister.
That turned out well, Moore said Annette told Beverly, “I think he likes you.” Moore and Beverly have been married for more than 30 years.
Goodfellow Bros. has been responsible for several large scale projects on Molokai. “We rebuilt the whole airport in Kalaupapa,” Moore said. “We were down there for a year.”
Moore had a funny story about the job that took place 15 years ago. All building supplies and materials had to be barged to Kalaupapa. For 28 days the barge came in and out of Kalaupapa Harbor.
Kalaupapa residents sat down at the harbor and watched truckers work all day. One day, some concerned residents called Moore. “You know that truck, the driver made five trips,” Moore said one of the residents told him. “But that other driver, he only made three trips. We don’t know what is he doing, but you better check on him.” Moore still laughs of his own story, even after all these years.
He said Kalaupapa residents were by far the nicest people he has ever met. Goodfellow workers were so thankful for their hospitality that they promised a banquet to the residents after the job would be finished. Moore said the residents could choose whatever they wanted; all the food was going to be barged in from Oahu. The residents’ request was unanimous, “McDonald’s.”
It seems like Moore will be going back to Kalaupapa in the near future. Federal government is slowly taking over the peninsula. The government requested that the tarmac at the airport there be changed from modular blocs to a single concrete slab.
Another big project coming up will be the paving of the main highway on Molokai. The job will cover the road stretching from Ho`olehua Airport all the way to Halawa Valley.
Goodfellow is already getting ready for the job. The quarry at Kalamaula Industrial Area is stocking up rocks that will be used in the project.
A school-trip to the quarry would have been every boy’s dream. The quarry is full of trucks and tractors of all kinds and sizes. Giant rock-piles are spread all over the place. Moveable conveyor belts gyrate to place rocks on top of each pile. A giant rock-crusher devours large rocks, spewing them in smaller sizes at the other end.
Dynamite charges explode the rock walls, after being placed in deep drill-holes. The rocks then are thrown inside the giant crusher. The powerful metal jaws make the crusher look like something straight out of Return of the Jedi. Smaller rocks come out from the other side of the crusher, and are separated by size through an intricate set of screens.
The rocks then go on top of conveyor belts extending several dozen feet. The conveyor belts gyrate and drop the rocks on top of, literally, crushed-rock mountains. The quarry could easily have been the set of the latest James Bond flick opening sequence.
There are so many rocks and heavy machinery that it is hard imagine that there was never an accident at the quarry. “We are very particular about safety,” Moore said. “Every worker has to take a safety course to even get near the equipment.” Besides that, there are regular safety meetings to make sure everyone knows and obeys the safety regulations.
But even though all safety procedures are met, there was one time when Moore thought they might have made a huge mistake.
A few months ago the workers exploded some charges at the quarry, and went back to the office. About fifteen minutes later everyone heard an explosion at least three times louder than the one they had set off.
Moore said they were looking at each other, thinking, “what in the hell was that?” They looked outside the window and saw a huge smoke cloud. The army had just exploded some ordnance found at the dump.
Goodfellow is also in charge of building a new outfall for the drain system in Kaunakakai. The project is schedule to start sometime in the near future.
All the employees at Goodfellow on Molokai were locally hired. For a company that receives its revenue from off-island, it means outside capital influx to island residents.
The rock-crusher equipment is shipped to different islands, where it is used according to when it is needed. When the crusher is on Molokai, it is the only time when employees from outside of Molokai come here to work, according to Moore. The reason is because the equipment comes with a special crew who is used to operate it.
Not much has changed for Moore since he got a job 56 years ago at Goodfellow. He holds the record for the longest employment in the company, including Jim Goodfellow, the company’s founder. The ownership of Goodfellow still belongs to the same family, and is in its fourth generation. He does not intend to retire anytime soon. Moore lived in a rural society back then, as he still does now.
“He always felt that it was the employees that made the company,” said Beverly Moore.
Goodfellow Brothers, Inc. Molokai employees 10/1/07
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