Kekaha resident Shirley Simbre-Medeiros and Edward Kawamura of Līhu‘e were named Kaua‘i’s 2016 Outstanding Female and Male Older American respectively, during the annual Outstanding Older Americans Recognition Ceremony last Friday.
The field of nominees also included Wilma Chandler, Richard Coller, Patricia Fallbeck, Keith Holdeman, Nathan Kalama, Elvira Kimokeo, Dr. Krishna Kumar, Aileen Mawae, Gini Stoddard and Tom Timmons
State and county officials who attended the ceremony acknowledged all of the nominees for their contributions to the community as well as their personal accomplishments.
Described as someone who does whatever is necessary to get the job done, Simbre-Medeiros has volunteered for many functions across the island, serving in various capacities such as an events coordinator, a cook, seamstress, and more.
In 2013, Simbre-Medeiros singlehandedly sewed all of the outfits for the 30 Pa‘u riders in the King Kamehameha Day Celebration. And she completed them in two weeks.
Currently, Simbre-Medeiros is assisting with the planning phase of building a traditional hale for the Kilohana Canoe Club near the Waimea River mouth. In addition, she is working with Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity, Inc. to develop a kupuna greeting program for arriving cruise ship passengers at Nāwiliwili Harbor.
Other programs and organizations that Simbre-Medeiros has helped over the years include Alu Like, Inc., Banana Poka Festival, Emalani Festival, Kekaha Pop Warner, Kekaha Elementary School, and the Boys and Girls Club of Hawai‘i Waimea Clubhouse.
Since he retired from the U.S. Army in 1978, Kawamura has been an active volunteer and advocate for the needs of all veterans.
He goes out of his way to lend a hand to a veteran in need, and lives by the motto, “Veterans Helping Veterans.”
If a disabled veteran needs transportation to an appointment at the VA Clinic in Līhu‘e, he can always count on Kawamura for a ride.
Kawamura has been a member of the Kaua‘i Veterans Council for 31 years and is currently serving as the Kaua‘i liaison for the Wounded Warrior Program.
His latest volunteer project is coordinating the Liberation of Dachau exhibit in honor of the Japanese American soldiers with the 552nd Field Artillery Battalion.
Besides his volunteer work with veterans, Kawamura tends to his family business and supports the local 4H Club that his grandchildren are members of.
Simbre-Medeiros and Kawamura will be honored at a ceremony at the State Capitol on June 3 along with the awardees from the other Hawai‘i counties.
Contact the Agency on Elderly Affairs at 241-4470 or visit www.kauaiadrc.org for more information.
State officials who attended the event included Gov. David Ige’s Kaua‘i Liaison Carrice Gardner, state Sen. Ronald Kouchi and state Rep. Derek Kawakami. Local dignitaries who attended the event included County Managing Director Nadine Nakamura, County Council Chair Mel Rapozo and councilmembers Gary Hooser, Ross Kagawa, Aryl Kaneshiro, KipuKai Kuali‘i and JoAnn Yukimura.