Celebrating U.S.VETS – Waianae’s 10th Anniversary

(l-r) Gladys Peraro, Executive Director U.S.VETS – Waianae; Darryl Vincent, COO; Dr. Kim Cook, Executive Director U.S.VETS – Barber’s Point

U.S.VETS – Waianae, also known as Pai’olu Kaiaulu (“a lift of encouragement as the journey begins.”), held its 10th anniversary celebration on Friday, March 31. Unique among U.S.VETS sites, Waianae provides housing and services to non-veteran homeless families, as well as veterans.

Approximately 175 people attended the special event marking a decade of caring. The event opened with several staff members performing traditional Hawaiian chants of gratitude, or “Mahalo Oli”: E Ho Mai, Oli Kahae Aloha – Pai’olu Kaiaulu, and Oli Mahalo to those in attendance. In addition to our residents, honored guests included the State of Hawaii’s Homeless Programs Office, the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Housing, and representation by 30+ service provider agencies, faith-based community volunteers, outside volunteers, and community stakeholders.

The event also included a blessing and re-dedication ceremony by Kahu Kaleo (The Rev. Dr. Kaleo Patterson), remarks by U.S.VETS Chief Operating Officer Darryl J. Vincent, a meal of traditional Hawaiian luau foods, entertainment by current & past program participants. Representatives from the offices of Senator Maile Shimabukuro, Representative Cedric Gates, and the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Chapter 1, presented proclamations in honor of a decade of service.

U.S.VETS – Waianae staffs have adopted the phrase “Hana Like Kakou” (“Many Hands Working Together”), which was truly evident in the outpouring of love and aloha present at the celebration, for which all staff offer leis of aloha for the many blessings and gifts we have received these past 10 years and for the many gifts we continue to receive going forward.

Mahalo Nui Loa from all of us at U.S.VETS – Waianae!