Motorcycle enthusiast spread faith
Blaise Villa / Church Volunteer
Blaise Roman Villa used his motorcycle to bring Jesus into the lives of others.
"He just liked (riding) because it was a tool to use to reach out to that specific group of people who rode bikes. He loved sharing the love of Jesus," said Tony Martelles, president of the Hawaii chapter of the Chariots of Light motorcycle club.
Villa died Friday in a motorcycle accident on Moanalua Freeway. He was 45.
A 49-year-old man driving a car on Moanalua Freeway tried to merge left and swerved back, hitting Villa, who was in the same lane near the Fort Shafter overpass. The motorcycle ran off the right side of the road, and Villa was thrown from the bike. He later died at the Queen's Medical Center.
Born and raised in Kalihi, Villa helped the Maryknoll School basketball team reach the state championship against Punahou School in 1981. Villa's team lost the game by one point.
He graduated that same year and moved to California to attend Yuba College but returned a year later because of his grandfather's death, mother April Villa said.
"He had a heart of gold," she said. "He would give his shirt off his back to anyone who needed it."
Over the next two decades, Villa worked various construction jobs before falling into trouble with crystal methamphetamine, landing him in prison in the 1990s.
After being released, he turned his life around, joining Word of Life Christian Center at the end of the decade.
Villa wanted to share his story.
He volunteered with Word of Life's Man of War program to help young people stay away from drugs and other negative influences. Under the program, Villa visited high schools to talk about his problem with drugs and encouraged the teens to make better choices than he did.
"He was one of our spokespersons to share testimony about coming out of prison and some of his track records," said Warren Lilo, facility manager at Word of Life. Lilo said Villa continued volunteering until last year.
In 2004, KHON Channel 2 news featured Villa in a story called "Life After Ice," his mother said.
Villa also was a leader in an international motorcycle club that teaches others about Jesus. He used his experience to relate with others and to bring Christ into their lives.
After meeting Martelles about a year ago, Villa soon became leader of the Oahu chapter, which has five other members.
"We just bonded and joined together," Martelles said from his home on Maui. "The love we had for reaching out to the lost, that really knitted our hearts together."
Villa, who used his car as regular transportation, started riding bikes as a hobby in 2004, his sister Anela Rapoza said. Villa rode with at least two other motorcycle clubs.
Villa's survivors include parents April and Riza Villa; brothers Howard and Rainer; sister Anela Rapoza, son Brenden, 23; and daughters Alexis, 13, Asia, 11, Alwaise, 10, and Ambiance, 9.
Services are pending.