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HPD Officer Recognized After Rescuing Distressed Swimmer

May 12, 2021, 6:30 AM HST
* Updated May 11, 4:53 PM
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Courtesy of Hawai’i Police Department

A Hawai‘i Police officer was recognized this month after rescuing a woman in distress while swimming at Kamakahonu Beach in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Travis Wong was the department’s first recipient of the Haweo Award, which he received during a ceremony held at Hawai‘i County Council chambers in Kona on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The award was presented by the Council’s Parks and Recreation and Public Safety Committee (PRPSC), which is partnering with the Hawai‘i Police Department and Hawai‘i Fire Department to recognize employees that go above and beyond the call of duty.

Wong was recognized for his heroic actions saving a female swimmer in distress. On March 6, 2021, he was dispatched to a reported affray near the Kailua Pier in Kailua-Kona. After observing no immediate disturbances, Officer Wong conducted checks at Kamakahonu beach, fronting the King Kamehameha Beach Hotel, where he saw a female swimmer in obvious distress. The woman was approximately 35 yards from shore, and according to witnesses, was experiencing a seizure.

Wong immediately summoned emergency medical technicians to respond to the scene. Rather than waiting for their arrival, he dressed down and without hesitation entered the water to assist with rescuing the woman. She was safely brought to shore just as medics arrived on scene and continued with life-saving action.

As the recipient of this award, Wong was presented with a lei and a certificate signed by each Councilmember.

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The police and fire departments alternate each month to select one employee to be the recipient of this award, which is presented during PRPSC meetings in Kona. Haweo, for which this award is named, means to glow or to be radiant.

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