Fresh-faced look


POSTED: Sunday, August 16, 2009

Using 107 gallons of paint, more than 100 Bank of Hawaii employees gave up their Saturday to apply a fresh, new face to 15 units in the Kuhio Park Terrace public housing complex.

“;We (Bank of Hawaii) feel that we have a responsibility and obligation to give back to the community where we do business,”; said Bank of Hawaii Vice Chairwoman Donna Tanoue. “;And, above all, we are a part of the community.”;

The mass volunteer effort was done as part of National Community Service Day, sponsored by the Financial Services Roundtable, a nonprofit organization that represents 100 of the largest integrated financial service companies in the nation. Bank of Hawaii was the first bank in the state to participate in National Community Service Day nearly four years ago, with employees fixing public housing developments in several areas, including Papakolea, Waimanalo, Kahaluu and Waipahu.

Hawaii Public Housing Authority Executive Director Chad Taniguchi said such volunteer projects help to offset federal and state spending, since the refurbishing would normally cost federal taxpayers about $5,000 to $10,000 per unit.

“;It's really helped us, because we have 7,000 people on the wait list (for public housing units),”; Tani-guchi said. “;The sooner we can get the units turned around, the sooner somebody can live in them.”;

Some Kuhio Park Terrace residents said the work of volunteers will also inspire people in the area to give back as well.

“;I believe that what Bank of Hawaii is doing will be a new start and be a good example to tenants,”; said Kuhio Park Terrace maintenance worker and resident Chris Paleafei, 26, who has lived in the complex for seven years. “;Just to see people come from outside and help out will open up people's eyes.”;

Many of the volunteers said they took their day off to give back in a small yet significant way.

“;I wanted to do something for the community, and I think all of us feel obligated to help out whenever we can,”; said Blanche Park, manager of the Bankoh branch at Moiliili Star Market, as she painted the living room ceiling of a 17th-floor unit. “;It's something little, but it's going to mean a lot to the people who live here.”;