East Hawaii News

Abercrombie to Recognize Outstanding Older American Ito

July 17, 2013, 1:00 PM HST
* Updated July 17, 1:01 PM
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Shirley Ito of Hilo will be recognized as a 2013 Outstanding Older American for Hawaii County at a ceremony Friday in Hilo.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie will be on hand to honor the special senior at a ceremony beginning at 11:30 a.m. on the second floor of the Hilo State Building on Aupuni Street.

Each year, eight kupuna, one male and one female from each county, are selected as Older American volunteer honorees for their exemplary work to aid and support their communities.

Ito, 74, was nominated by Hui Okinawa, with which she has volunteered for the past decade. Ito assists the non-profit group in organizing its five-day Cultural Day Camp for children each summer by helping with crafts and other projects and accompanying the students on field trips.

“It’s folks like Shirley Ito that build the social fabric of a community and make it strong,” Hui Okinawa‘s nomination letter said. “In any organization or club you need members who are willing to actively participate and lead activities if the group is to continue to be a vibrant contributor to community life. That’s Shirley!”

Hui Okinawa previously recognized Ito’s dedication and diligent service with its Hatarachaa Award in 2003 and the Chibayaa Award in 2009.

Ito has also volunteered for ARC of Hilo cleanups and has served as chair on the ARC’s Vision and Hearing Programs and as president and regional chair for the Lions Club.

This year’s male recipient, Peter “Pete” Hoffman of Waikoloa Hoffman, was honored by Abercrombie in May at a ceremony in Kona.

Hoffman, 72, is a former four-term member of the Hawaii County Council with an extensive record of volunteering.

It includes serving on the West Hawaii Community Health Center board, helping found the Waikoloa Community Development Corp., organizing the Waikoloa Senior Center, chairing the Twenty-first Century Learning Center, running a school supply drive at Waikoloa Elementary School, and working with the Hawaii Island Food Basket, Meals on Wheels and the Senior Summer Produce Board.

Ito and Hoffman were also recognized May 2 during a luncheon held at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel by the Hawaii County Office of Aging. The event was the office’s 45th annual celebration of the awards.

The national theme this year honoring older Americans  is “Unleash the Power of Age.”

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