Waipahu names to honor Anderson
A road and a room at the public library will bear C.O. Andy Anderson's name
For years, motorists along Kamehameha Highway in West Oahu would see C.O. Andy Anderson, dubbed Mr. Waipahu by some, standing along the road wearing his pith helmet and using a pair of hedge trimmers to neatly snip away any overgrown brush that obscured the "Welcome to Waipahu" sign.
As time has passed since his death six months ago, leaves are slowly starting to encroach on the sign.
"Father did all the little things that no one ever thought or wanted to do -- he's what made our town click," said Anderson's daughter Karen. "When he died, he left a big hole for the community to fill -- they realized the Waipahu go-to guy was not there anymore."
That's why Anderson is getting two rare honors: The driveway leading to the Waipahu Cultural Garden Park and a room at the Waipahu Public Library will be named after him.
Anderson will become only the seventh community member to have a room at a Hawaii state public library named after him. Naming a public driveway after someone has never happened in Waipahu before, said city Councilman Nestor Garcia, who introduced a resolution naming the driveway after Anderson.
"Naming the room and road after him is not only an honor, but a way of inspiring future generations to be as involved as he was," said Karen Anderson, adding that she was sure her father would have been delighted by the idea. "This is one way to make sure his presence is always felt in the community."
State Sen. Clarence Nishihara, a friend of Anderson, said, "Most people usually donate money to get something named after them, but in this case he dedicated his time, energy and love for the community."
The dedication of the library's young adult room will occur July 19, the 20th anniversary of the date when Anderson helped found the Friends of Waipahu Public Library.
Karen Anderson said as the unofficial gatekeeper of the cultural garden park, her father was given a set of keys to allow people to use the park's community facilities for meetings or recreation.
"Half the time, the meetings were for one of the many organizations he was involved with," Karen Anderson said with a laugh. "We had to keep a calendar on the fridge just to keep track of where he was."
"He walked up and down that driveway every day for the last 15 years to open and close the gate. ... It's only fitting that it be named after him," said Annette Yamaguchi, who served on the Waipahu Neighborhood Board with Anderson.
Park official Richard Hirata said he was not sure when the dedication of the driveway would occur. However, Hirata said the quarter-mile stretch of road will have at least four signs denoting Anderson Driveway.
Injured after falling from a ladder at his home on Dec. 27, Anderson died New Year's Day at Tripler Army Medical Center at the age of 84. He served his country for 34 years as a U.S. Marine Corps master gunnery sergeant (E9)* before retiring in Waipahu and dedicating his life to the beloved town.
"There was nobody in Waipahu like him," Yamaguchi said. "He was the greatest community volunteer. He worked tirelessly and was the president or vice president of ... well every organization in town."
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
» C.O. Andy Anderson served as master gunnery sergeant (E-9), the highest enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, before becoming a community activist in Waipahu. A Page A17 article Sunday incorrectly gave his rank as sergeant.