Paddling To Honor A Fallen Soldier

When a soldier from Hawaii is killed in the line of duty, we feel the family’s pain. Somehow, someway, we are all tied to each other. It’s part of being an island community.

Such is the case with Army National Guard Sgt. Drew M. Scobie of Kailua, who was killed last month when the MC-12 fixed-wing surveillance aircraft he was in went down in eastern Afghanistan. Two other soldiers were killed in the crash. Scobie’s death rocked the entire state.

“We really appreciate everything our soldiers do for us,” says Keone Miyake of Kauai. “These days, the world is so crazy and everybody is moving so fast, but we have to take time to recognize the little things that make a difference in our world. He might seem like just another soldier, but Sgt. Scobie was one of our own. He defended all of us who live in the United States, including Kauai.”

It’s that appreciation that inspired a group of canoe paddlers from the Garden Island to dedicate a race in honor of the Hawaii Army National Guardsman, who leaves behind his wife and son. The couple has another child on the way.

“That’s one of the biggest reasons why we did it, for his wife and children,” says Miyake of Kauai Hoe Waa. “Our hearts go out to his family, and even though many of us never knew him, we do recognize him and thank him for his service, and we thank his family.”

Miyake says Scobie has an uncle who lives on Kauai and is active in the local paddling community, often serving as a boat escort in canoe races. Jason Panui and his family were grateful to hear about the inaugural Sgt. Scobie Memorial Run.

“Even though we come from a small island and we have a small one-man paddling community, we know each and everyone of us can make a difference,” says Miyake. “When it comes to the Kauai Hoe Waa, not only do we try to perpetuate the culture of paddling, but we also try to help out the community as much as possible.”

Scobie’s Army unit, Detachment 55, was mobilized last October to Afghanistan. In a statement, the Scobie family said, “Drew’s zest for life was contagious and always made his family proud.”

Miyake says paddlers remembered that quality when they lined up on race morning and carried that spirit with them the entire day. He says many paddlers even stayed for a cookout after the race and reflected on the sacrifices those who serve in the military and their families make every day.

Miyake says proceeds from the event will be donated to the family through a fund at Bank of Hawaii. “I told everybody before the race and even after the race to keep Drew and his family in their hearts and prayers because he gave his life for us, and we have to recognize that,” says Miyake. “We have much to be grateful for, and it is because of people like Sgt. Drew Scobie that we can enjoy the freedom we enjoy. He gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting our country, and we can never forget that.”