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Hawaii State Legislators Honor Fallen Service Members

Hawaii state legislators gathered at the capitol here March 27 to present the Hawaii Medal of Honor to 19 families of Hawaii-born or -based service members who were killed in combat over the past year.

Left to right: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Neal, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, pose for a photo during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Neal accepted the medal on behalf of his friend and colleague Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas S. Johnson. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Left to right: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Neal, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, pose for a photo during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Neal accepted the medal on behalf of his friend and colleague Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas S. Johnson. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

“We do this, a public ceremony, because we wish to express in more than just a symbolic way what it is we regard as most fundamental to recognition of what it takes to enable us to be a free people,” Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said at the ceremony. “Why are we in such a solemn regard? It’s because we understand that in ceremonies such as this we are engaged in a public expression in what constitutes our fundamental values.”

The families of ten soldiers and nine Marines were presented the medal, which has been given at the Hawaii state capitol since House Bill 8, designated as Act 21, Session Laws of Hawaii of 2005 was passed. According to the bill’s language, “The purpose of this Act is to provide for a Hawaii Medal of Honor that would help express the deep appreciation and gratitude of the People of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms.”

Jennifer Riddick looks on as her daughter wipes away tears during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor presentation ceremony held at the state capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Jennifer and her daughter received the HMOH in honor of fallen Marine Corps Master Sgt. Travis W. Riddick who was killed in action after a helicopter accident in Afghanistan. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Jennifer Riddick looks on as her daughter wipes away tears during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor presentation ceremony held at the state capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Jennifer and her daughter received the HMOH in honor of fallen Marine Corps Master Sgt. Travis W. Riddick who was killed in action after a helicopter accident in Afghanistan. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Prior to presenting the medal to the family members, Hawaii National Guard Adjutant General Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong expressed his gratitude to the family members and fellow service members in attendance.

“There is no honor higher that our state can bestow upon a member of our armed forces than the Hawaii Medal of Honor,” Wong said. “This is not an honor we bestow with joy, but rather we do so with heavy hearts and solemn resolve.

“Collectively, as a state, we have made it our mission to express our deepest appreciation to these brave men and women,” he continued. “We resolve to ensure the families of our service members shall always be a part of our Hawaiian Ohana, and that the ultimate sacrifice made by their loved ones will always be remembered.”  In Hawaiian culture Ohana means family, and Wong’s usage of the word connotes extended family.

Among those honored at the ceremony were six Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, who were killed in action in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. As each of the fallen were mentioned, a family member or friend received the medal and a certificate in addition to the appreciation of the state of Hawaii, whether they grew up here or were stationed here.

Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe families of 10 soldiers and nine Marines received the Hawaii State Medal of Honor (pictured) during a ceremony at the state capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. The passage of Hawaii House Bill 8, designated as Act 21, Session Laws of Hawaii of 2005, established the medal. According to the bill’s language, “The purpose of this Act is to provide for a Hawaii Medal of Honor that would help express the deep appreciation and gratitude of the People of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms.” DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Click photo for screen-resolution image The families of 10 soldiers and nine Marines received the Hawaii State Medal of Honor (pictured) during a ceremony at the state capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. The passage of Hawaii House Bill 8, designated as Act 21, Session Laws of Hawaii of 2005, established the medal. According to the bill’s language, “The purpose of this Act is to provide for a Hawaii Medal of Honor that would help express the deep appreciation and gratitude of the People of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms.” DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Hawaii state legislature Rep. K. Mark Takai, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans, Military and International Affairs, stressed the significance of this program.

“In 2005, when we first passed this legislation, I just don’t think we understood how important this was going to be, not only to the families, but more importantly to the people of Hawaii,” said Takai, who also serves as a commissioned officer in the Hawaii Army National Guard.

Takai also highlighted the significant role the U.S. military plays in Hawaii.

“The military has been such an important part of our history,” he said. “Even pre-dating the start of World War II, the military has played a pivotal role in our state’s history. We are a unique state because of everybody coming together, including the military families, so we pay particular attention to our military.”

Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, provides remarks during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, provides remarks during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

This is the eighth year that the Hawaii state legislature has honored people with Hawaii ties that died in wars overseas.

 

Governor Abercrombie Releases $46.39 Million for Capital Improvement Projects Statewide

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $46.39 million for various capital improvement projects (CIP) across Hawaii, including investments required to qualify for federal funding toward state projects.

abercrombieheader

“Many of these priority projects require matching state funds to access federal dollars, secured before sequestration, to maintain and upgrade our public infrastructure and facilities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “These CIPs will have the added benefit of stimulating Hawaii’s economy and generating local jobs. Priority has been given to projects that can begin quickly.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:

Statewide

  • $14,000,000 – Public Facilities and Sites, statewide – Design and construction for various repair and alteration projects to existing State Office Buildings; projects may include roofing, other repairs and improvements.
  • $3,157,000 – Wastewater Treatment Revolving Funds for Pollution Control, statewide – Transfer of general obligation bond funds to the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund to match more than $15 million in federal funds to finance wastewater infrastructure construction projects (such as wastewater systems, storm water, and non-point source projects) across the state to attain and maintain compliance with the federal Clean Water Act
  • $2,715,000 – Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund, statewide – Transfer of general obligation bond funds to the Drinking Water Treatment Revolving Loan Fund to match more than $13 million in federal funds to finance drinking water infrastructure construction projects across the state for public water systems to attain and maintain compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act
  • $1,000,000 – State Parks Energy and Water Efficiency Improvements, statewide – Design and construction of renewable energy sources for state park facilities and replacement of aging energy and water systems with efficient fixtures, systems and facilities
  • $1,000,000 – ADA Public Accessibility at Department of Land and Natural Resources Facilities, statewide – Design and construction to provide public accessibility at several DLNR facilities pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act; projects include the replacement of the accessible lift at Iolani Palace State Monument and an accessible route to the telephone at Heeia Kea Small Boat Harbor on Oahu, as well as an accessible parking area in the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor and an accessible loading area at Rainbow Falls State Park on Hawaii Island

Civil Defense

  • $2,343,434 – Lump Sum CIP for Department of Defense (DOD) Facilities, Infrastructure and Devices, statewide – Various DOD CIP projects, such as renovation of Building 621 in Hilo, and renovation of the State Civil Defense Building 303 and road/parking resurfacing of the “Emergency Operations Center” at Fort Ruger on Oahu
  • $1,250,000 – Energy Savings Improvements and Renewable Energy Projects, statewide – Design and construction for various energy savings and renewable energy improvements at Hawaii Army National Guard facilities; projects include investigating the feasibility and design of wind/solar/photovoltaic systems at the department’s armories, installing new energy efficient air conditioning equipment and digital controls at various facilities, and various other energy projects
  • $450,000 – 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Readiness Center, Kalaeloa, Oahu – Design and construction for a Readiness Center at Kalaeloa; this project will provide office space, training rooms, storage, meeting rooms, and other National Guard Bureau required areas (DOD has completed the initial design work using federal funds; total project cost will be $33.9 million, including $33 million in federal funds and $900,000 in state funds)
  • $125,000 – Building 19 restoration, Kalaeloa, Oahu – Equipment and work needed to complete installation of a fire suppression system for Building 19 (Readiness Center) for the Hawaii Army National Guard
  • $50,000 – Minor Military Construction and Renovation at Army Guard Facilities, Oahu – Planning for the renovation of Building 282 at Kalaeloa

Hospitals

  • $1,100,000 – Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, Kauai – Design and construction to address main water pipes that have deteriorated due to age and corrosion from the salt air and have started to leak; the project will consist of removing and replacing all damaged main water piping with PVC and copper piping
  • $700,000 – Lanai Community Hospital, Lanai – Design, construction and equipment to install a photovoltaic system that will generate 40 Kwh of power, which is approximately 50 percent of the daily electricity needs for the hospital (Energy savings is expected offset the cost of the installation in 7 years)
  • $590,000 – Leahi Hospital, Oahu – Repairs to weathered concrete, replacement of caulking, and repainting of the exterior of the Atherton and administration buildings
  • $110,000 – Leahi Hospital, Oahu – Design and construction for the removal of an incinerator stack; current equipment is no longer in use and has begun to deteriorate

Housing

  • $7,000,000 – Kalihi Valley Homes, Oahu – Work to complete Phase IV site and dwelling improvements; the HPHA recently completed the full remodeling of 23 of the 42 residential buildings
  • $1,900,000 – Puahala Homes, Oahu – Work to compete Phase 1B abatement and modernization of Buildings 4, 5 and 6 of the 128-unit complex, including interior renovations of the units
  • $1,800,000 – Kaahumanu Homes, Oahu – Construction for complete site improvements, including spall repair, painting for 19 buildings, interior renovations, security fencing, and roadway and sidewalk improvements
  • $600,000 – Hauiki Homes, Oahu – Completion of construction for site work and roof repairs, including sidewalk and stair repairs of the 46-unit public housing project in Kalihi

Other

  • $5,050,000 – Maui Veterans Cemetery, Maui – Pre-design, design and construction for expansion and improvements to the veterans cemetery
  • $930,000 – Kalaupapa Settlement Improvements, Molokai – Design and construction for closure of landfills and reroofing of the store and administration buildings (two separate projects)
  • $500,000 – Waianae Small Boat Harbor, Oahu – Design and construction of covered vessel storage facilities, utilities and related improvements
  • $20,000 – Kaneohe Public Library, Oahu – Design and construction for replacement of the existing circulation desk and related improvements; the area will accommodate children and be compliant with ADA accessibility guidelines

 

Goat Takes Out Humvee Carrying Hawaii Army National Guardsmen

Media Release:

A 44-year-old Hawai’i Army National Guardsman from Ewa Beach, Oahu, was critically injured in a Humvee crash on the old Saddle Road, .3 miles west of the 36-mile marker, which is between the old main gate at the Pohakuloa Training Area and Bradshaw Army Air Field.

Responding to a 6:56 p.m. call Tuesday (June 7), South Hilo patrol officers determined that the victim was operating a Humvee and traveling west on the old Saddle Road when he attempted to avoid a goat that had jumped onto the roadway.

Flikr photograph

The Humvee ran off the right side of the road, up an embankment and overturned.

The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle and pinned underneath.

The driver was extricated from under the vehicle and taken by Fire Rescue personnel to North Hawaii Community Hospital, where he wad listed in critical condition.

A 21-year-old passenger who is also a guardsman from Kalihi, Oahu, was not injured.

The driver was later flown to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu for further treatment.