COURTESY OF DANIEL EMHOF
Two generations of pharmacists work at Molokai Drugs Inc. Pictured are Jon Mikami and his son Ian, and Kelly Go and her father, David Mikami.
Molokai grateful for selfless family's care
Jannah Maliu is grateful that her husband's grandmother Aulani has received dialysis treatment on Molokai, instead of having to go to Oahu as so many Friendly Isle residents once did several years ago.
Maliu said one of the major supporters of the dialysis center has been the owners at Molokai Drugs Inc., a family-run operation that donated lease space for 10 years at its Kamoi Center in Kaunakakai.
"They give from the heart," Maliu said. "They are a very loving and giving family."
Molokai Drugs Inc., the only private full-service pharmacy on the Friendly Isle, recently celebrated its 70th year in business, recognizing three generations of family members in the pharmacy profession and the contributions of its founder, Richard Sakata.
Sakata rode on a pineapple barge to Molokai in 1935 to become the island's first pharmacist, family members said.
Electricity had just arrived on the island two years prior, and there was no fanfare when he landed at Kaunakakai at night, according to the family.
"When he arrived at Kaunakakai Wharf, it was pitch black except for one light in the middle of town from the old Mid-Nite Inn," said family spokeswoman Kimberly Mikami Svetin, one of his granddaughters.
"For 24 years, Grandpa never took a long vacation," she added.
Svetin, president of Molokai Drugs Inc., said her father, David Mikami, who married the Sakatas' only child, Judy, became the island's second pharmacist in 1969.
David's brother Jon was the island's third pharmacist, and David's daughter Kelly Go returned to Molokai in 2002 to work as a pharmacist.
Residents note family members have donated much to the community.
B.J. Dudoit, a resident, said the family owns part of the land used for softball and Little League baseball in the center of Kaunakakai town and has allowed the community to use it without charge. "They've been wonderful," Dudoit said.
Maliu said the family, which owns a snack shop at the Kamoi Center, also donates various treats to T-ball players on the weekends.
"They're a very loving and giving family," Maliu said.
Svetin said the donations are a way for the family to express their thanks to the community and customers.
Svetin said her parents and late grandparents have placed a high value on community service, continuing to list their names in the telephone directory to make themselves available for emergency requests.
She recalled her father and grandfather sometimes returning to the pharmacy at night to fill an emergency prescription.
"It wasn't just a job; it was a duty. It was a responsibility for my grandpa, my dad and uncle. Some of the situations were life and death," Svetin said.