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Kaiser Volunteers Participate in Annual Day of Service

January 21, 2019, 12:39 PM HST (Updated January 22, 2019, 11:17 AM)
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More than 100 Kaiser Permanente physicians, staff and their family members volunteered at two Hawai‘i Island sites on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, as part of the organization’s 14th annual Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Eric Helms, MD helps restore a wall at the fishponds of Hale O Lono. PC: Kaiser Permanente.

For the second year, Kaiser Permanente employees volunteered at Kamokuna, a coastal environment located in a land division known as Honohononui in Hilo. Volunteers helped restore the coastline, removed invasive plant species and gathered rocks for Haleolono Fishpond.

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Kaiser Permanente employees in Kona gathered at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, working with nonprofit Ka‘ahahui o ka Nāhelehele on projects to help restore the area’s unique dryland forest environment. Rich in historical significance and indigenous flora and fauna, the area is also home to nesting nēnē (Hawaiian geese). The volunteers planted native plants, watered, cleared grass and vegetation to restore the dryland forest, and built trails for visitors to enjoy the landscape.

Dave Bell, MD and Tommy Medina restore a wall at the fishponds of Hale O Lono. PC: Kaiser Permanente.

“This is our second year supporting Haleolono on the Hilo coast, and our fourth year focusing on dryland forest restoration at the unique Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve,” said Rick Fong, pediatrician and physician-in-charge of Kaiser Permanente’s Hawai‘i Island clinics. “We’re thankful to our employees for generously donating their time to make this possible, and to our partnering nonprofits for providing us with the opportunity to complete much-needed restoration work at two historic locations.”

The Hawai‘i Island volunteers joined more than 1,000 physicians, staff and families across the state, and thousands of Kaiser Permanente employees nationally, in a “day on, not a day off” of service and outreach in their communities, to honor the legacy of service left by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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