CEO Update: August 16, 2023

August 16, 2023

Dear Friends,

My heart goes out to those affected by the Maui wildfire. Witnessing this devastation unfold was heart-wrenching, as we saw a cherished location undergo such tragedy.

For many, Hawaii holds dear memories, and my foremost thoughts are with those who have suffered the loss of friends, family, homes, and businesses. Lahaina is a national gem – one of Hawaii’s few remaining historic waterfront villages.

Hawaii embodies resilience and the spirit of aloha. Throughout their history, Hawaiians have supported each other in difficult times. Now, it’s our turn to stand with them on their journey to recovery.

I’m reminded today of stories my grandfather shared about Lahaina from the late 1930s. Amidst escalating tensions in the Pacific, he was deployed to Hawaii on the USS Tennessee. Onshore, he was part of the baseball team, representing the Navy in matches against Hawaiian teams. He held Lahaina close to his heart, cherishing memories from that era.

Lahaina, Maui during the fires

The Maui wildfire underscores the importance of disaster preparedness. Our friends, supporters, and crew were deeply affected by this disaster. With power and communication lines down, many basic necessities were disrupted, emphasizing the need for resilience and preparation. It’s heartening to witness communities, like the ILWU and San Pedro, mobilizing support for Maui. We must continue to learn from such events and adapt our strategies for the future.

Over the years, we’ve been involved in DSCA (Disaster Support for Civilian Agencies) through LA Fleet Week. This process sees federal resources aiding local authorities in times of need.

In Maui, the combined efforts of the National Guard, US Coast Guard, and US Navy were all utilized. The strength of pre-established relationships, as we experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic and the USNS Mercy deployment to Los Angeles, can expedite and improve response in times of crisis

Our own Battleship IOWA serves a similar purpose, building relations and skills crucial for incident management with our emergency planners and first responders.

Battleship USS Iowa and USNS Mercy

USNS MERCY arrives to the Port of Los Angeles in 2020

With the Maui tragedy affecting those close to us, I ponder on how we can amplify our role as a community resource. We’ve previously supported our community during the Covid pandemic, and we continually offer space for community events.

However, in times of disaster, how can we further assist in communication, water and food supply continuity, or other essential areas? Our aim is to fortify communities, enhancing their resilience against adversities.

Our commitment is reflected in one or our key pillars of programs, as we strive to nurture resilient communities. In the coming weeks, we’ll delve deeper into our impact on communities, understanding that through knowledge, support, and fostering relationships, we can build a more resilient city, state, and nation.

 

As I conclude, I urge you to keep the people of Maui in your thoughts. Support those impacted, either emotionally or physically. Together, we can foster a more resilient community and nation.


Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

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