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Daniel Sayre Foundation Continues Gift of Safety

Posted January 9, 2013, 12:51 PM HST Updated January 9, 2013, 06:05 PM HST
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The Hawaii Fire Department shows its aloha for the assistance from the Sayres at an event in 2011. Photo courtesy of the foundation's Facebook page.

One family’s misfortune continues to result in untold benefits across the Big Island.

The county is poised to accept yet another donation from the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation for equipment boosting the capabilities of the Hawaii Fire Department.

The foundation was formed following a hiking accident in 1997, when the 25-year-old Sayre fell 500 feet while hiking in the back of Pololu Valley in North Kohala.

After initial attempts failed to retrieve his body from the remote location close to the valley’s Kapaloa Falls, two firefighters volunteered for a risky long-line helicopter mission to recover the remains.

The effort prompted Sayre’s parents, Frank Sayre and Laura Mallery-Sayre, to establish a foundation to provide the department with additional equipment to help assure the safety of its members and the general public.

Since then, the foundation has held annual fundraisers to provide up-to-date rescue equipment.

“We decided that a memorial fund honoring the Hawaii County Fire Department was the best way to show our gratitude,” Frank Sayre says on the foundation’s website.

“Helping those who help all of us” is the foundation’s motto.

The latest donation is for more than $48,000 worth of equipment and training, ranging from a specialized repelling swivel pulley costing $110 to 32 decompression diving computers valued at more than $12,000.

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The latest donation also includes nearly $20,000 in tuition for safety and rescue training for fire department  SCUBA divers. Other equipment donated recently includes repelling anchors, rescue boards and an automated defibrillator.

The total donations so far are approaching $700,000, Battalion Chief Gerald Kosaki told members of the County Council’s Finance Committee Tuesday.

All donations to the county must be accepted by the council, which will take a final vote in a future meeting.

The vote Tuesday was a slam-dunk 9-0, as numerous members of the committee lauded the foundation and its efforts.

Kosaki said the donations are particularly valued during these tough economic times, when budgets are stretched thin.

“Their funding has really helped us and our personnel to be much safer,” he told Big Island Now.

Kosaki said the Sayres have proved to be masterful fundraisers. One of the items up for auction in a recent benefit was an iPad autographed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

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