As we continue to share the sign that beckons visitors and residents into Kalaupapa, we wanted to share more about the original maker:
“Ed was one of driving factors that kept the Lions Club going,” Kato was secretary and treasurer of the Kalaupapa chapter of the service organization for many years. ‘He always helped the community, he did all the sign-painting for the community.’ Kato was named the Maui County Outstanding Older American Man in 1996 in recognition of more than 50 years of volunteer service.”
These photos are of 2014 Kalaupapa Lions Club’s Vice-President, Kirk Dietz, along with National Park Service employees Mike Heacock and Timothy Jordan, replacing the sign with an exact reproduction.
Kalaupapa Lions Club was created by amazing patient-Lions who wanted to share the aloha of the community they had created against all odds with the rest of the world. They knew that the Lions club was the organization that mirrored their goals.
So many people and stories are connected to Kalaupapa and the story of Hansen’s disease in the Hawaiian islands. Mahalo to everyone who has shared their stories (such as Ka Moolelo oiaio o Kaluaikoolau by Pi’ilani), visited Kalaupapa over the years, volunteered time with the Lions Club, and advocated for this community. Every one from then until today shows how powerful love is.
If you haven’t watched “The Wind and the Reckoning” it is highly recommended to do so! Throwback to when some of the folks behind the (award winning!) film came to do a special showing for the community. Note Jason Scott Lee in featured photo.