By Jesse Church
Aloha to my fellow veterans and residents of Molokai, this past Friday April 10, became the most holy of Veterans Days when the Veterans of Molokai received their certificate of occupancy for the new Veterans Center. What started as the dreams of Molokai Veterans about eight years ago, has finally come to fruit. It began as a dream of veteran Patty Bird who now lives in the state of Washington, and the late Commander, Larry Helm of the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans. My greatest wish would have been for Larry to have lived to see his dream finally come true. Before I go any farther into this column, the veterans of Molokai must be congratulated on a job well done. And I’ll like to thank the Commander, Sam Makaiwi, and Vice Commander, John “Longie” Dudoit of the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans for doing a fine job in getting the Molokai Vet Center on the map. All 582 of Molokai’s veterans are ecstatic over their new Vet Center, and I know they will use it in good health for many, many years to come.
The veterans not only of Molokai, but all of America’s veterans are a proud and tight-knit group that would do anything for one and all. The veterans feel that they have served the county well, and I’m one vet who believes they have served the country in the highest in peacetime and wartime. In the years that it has taken to build the Molokai Veterans Center, the veterans of this island have had to pay a formidable price in human life; we lost approximately 48 veterans over the building years, good men who wanted to live to see the Vet Center to completion. But make no mistake the veterans center will be a win win situation not just for the veterans but all the people of Molokai.
All the people of Molokai have been waiting a long time for the Veterans Center, and everyone knows it will be good for the whole island. The people of Molokai had asked about the center for years and now it’s finally here, Molokai has its Veterans Center, what a blessing for the people or the island. Well, the veterans of Molokai now have a place to hang out, there’s going to be a lot of talking story and drinking coffee when it gets up and running. Who knows, maybe the women will start having monthly dinners to start raising money, that would be great. But the big thing is that the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans must be sure that they continue to help each other when someone needs the help.
To all the veterans, and non-veterans who became involved in this building, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget what the people of Molokai did to this built and for all of you I send a big mahalo. To all the people of Molokai, please always remember that old Jesse loves each and every one of you from my heart. Aloha.