Kaua‘i Charity Walk A Big Success

Kaua‘i’s 2012 Visitor Charity Walk committee (from left): Sandi Kato-Klutke, Sara Miura, Denise Wardlow, Ray Blouin, Kahau Manzo, Christina Gabriel and Julie Pavao. Photo from Mufi Hannemann

While the numbers haven’t been finalized, it appears that the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk was another great success for Kaua’i.

From the Garden Island, event chairwoman Denise Wardlow, general manager of Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, reported that the May 12 event attracted 2,000 participants from the visitor industry and community. She was especially grateful to the Kaua’i community, 68,000 strong, who showed support not only for the actual walk, but also for the many pre-event fundraising activities.

With the leadership and support of the visitor industry and other businesses, about $152,000 had been raised as of the date of the walk, with more anticipated or accepted since the walk.

The theme this year was “Put Your Best Slippah Forward, a Tradition of Kokua.” Since its establishment 34 years ago, the Visitor Industry Charity Walk has become the largest single-day fundraiser by a nonprofit organization in Hawaii, generating more than $23 million to help hundreds of local charities.

The walk began bright and early Saturday morning and involved a 2.9-mile route through downtown Lihue. Morning coffee and treats were donated by Aston Islander on the Beach, thanks to general manager and HLTA Kaua’i chapter chairwoman Sandi Kato-Klutke. At the end of the walk, participants enjoyed a feast of culinary delights prepared by chefs from Grand Hyatt Kaua’i, Starwood St. Regis Princeville, Kaua’i Marriott, Marriott’s Waiohai and Kaua’i Beach Resort.

As in keeping with HLTA tradition, the money raised on Kaua’i will stay on the island. Last year, proceeds benefited 40 Kaua’i nonprofit organizations.

* The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is taking some flak from lawmakers in Congress who contend a slated conference on Maui should be held on the Mainland.

The criticism is unwar-ranted and baseless. Considering the 9th Circuit includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction, it makes sense for the judges to be in a place their decisions affect. We are a proven business destination for professionals, government leaders, business leaders and everyone in between. Costs to meet in Hawaii are comparable to other destinations.. A business meeting is not a luxury or government boondoggle.