Resident Honored for Healthcare Contributions
By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor
A Molokai resident has been recognized with a Maui County Outstanding Older American Award for her work to advocate for and support healthcare on Molokai.
Judy Mikami was one of three residents county-wide honored with the award, presented at a recognition event in Kahului last week. It was the county’s 54th annual presentation of the Outstanding Older American Award.
“We’re here to celebrate the members of our community who are doing impressive work by volunteering to help other seniors, by caring for the ʻaina, or by starting much needed services in the areas where you live or they live,” Mayor Richard Bissen said in presenting a proclamation for Older Americans Month in May. “They are making positive changes in the lives of others. Even more impressive – they are doing this valuable work after retiring from their careers.”
Stephen Kealoha of Pukalani and Betty Yamashiro of Kahului were the other two awardees, out of nine who were nominated in Maui County.
Mikami is a strong advocate for the Molokai community on healthcare and long-term care issues, according to Maui County.
“Judy is a pivotal player in the Molokai Kupuna Care Program, in which she has been a grant writer, founder, and current adviser since 2021,” stated a county press release. “Judy was also a grant writer for Na Pu’uwai from 2007 to 2015 and worked hard to secure monies for Molokai’s sick and elderly.”
Mikami was also instrumental in the founding of Molokai’s dialysis center, bringing together partners such as OHA, Maui County, St. Francis Hospital, Na Pu`uwai, State of Hawaii and Molokai General Hospital.
“Our family that owns Molokai Drugs donated the space at its present location rent-free for 10 years so that services could be begin under St. Francis Dialysis Center, and later as Liberty Dialysis Center,” she said.
Mikami was quick to recognize community effort in accepting her award.
“While it was an honor to be nominated as an outstanding older American for Maui County and then being one of three winners, I am humbled by this and recognize that it isn’t only me,” she said. “It takes a village and community to come together to accomplish things, and I want to acknowledge that I’m very grateful to my Molokai island home for the opportunity to work together on many healthcare and long-term care issues.”
The County of Maui Office on Aging staff encourages the community to celebrate all older Americans year-round and remember the legacies they leave behind. More info on the annual award can be found at mauicountyadrc.org.