Monday, June 14, 1999


By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Paula Loring, awarded this year for her service to the community,
does most of her work by computer. Though basically home-
bound, Loring organizes her neighbors and lobbies for
improvements to help Kapolei residents.

She sees Kapolei’s
needs, answers them

Paula Loring started a neighborhood
watch, PTA, family center,
park and even more

By Rod Ohira


She's unable to walk very far, but Paula Loring manages to cover a lot of ground for her neighbors.

Loring, 53, suffers from Scheie's syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has affected her vision, hearing and heart. She can no longer drive or work and is basically confined to her Kumu Iki Village home in Kapolei.

But it hasn't stopped her from making a difference.

Since 1992, when she testified before the Legislature against proposed funding cuts for the state's Villages of Kapolei project, Loring has become a "go to" person in her community.

She started the first of 13 Neighborhood Security Watch groups in the Villages; successfully lobbied the city and state for a safe walkway along Farrington Highway to the new shopping center before bus service was available; and successfully drove home the need for expanded bus service in Kapolei.

For families, community

Loring also organized parents to form the Kapolei Elementary PTA; succeeded in getting the state to build a 12-acre community park when the city didn't have funds to do the project; and formed the Kapo-lei Family Center, whose services include the Villages of Kapolei newspaper, "Food and Money Basics" and fitness classes, and teen programs to address peer social issues.

"At this stage of my life, I physically cannot walk a block without getting winded," said Loring, who moved to Hawaii from Seattle with her husband, Steve, in 1983. "Because I'm at home, I see what the needs are.

"I can't physically work, so I do community work on my own time and pace. If I'm not on the telephone or at the school helping out, I'm talking to neighbors."

Her husband manages the Sack 'n Save store in Nanakuli, and the Mormon couple are raising three children, ages 9 to 14.

Loring, winner of the Campbell Estate's 1999 Kapolei Outstanding Achievement (KOA) award for community service, has been successful in presenting community issues to officials.

"I think the key is to have a positive attitude about the problem and to go in with a solution in mind," she said.

"If you have an answer for the problem, they are more likely to listen than if you go in and complain."

The satisfaction of helping others is her reward, she says.

"When I see other people happy, it makes me happy," she said. "Once I baked 12 loaves of bread and gave six of them away, and my husband couldn't understand why I did that. But I've always been a people pleaser."

Taking note of her health problems, Loring said, "I've come to appreciate people's shortcoming from the perspective I have. It's easier for me to overlook people's flaws."

She's currently pushing to have the Kapolei Family Center located on a site between Kapolei Elementary School and the residents-only Villages of Kapolei Recreation Center.

'Who'll pay for safety?'

With the new middle school scheduled to open late next month and the new high school in July 2000, Loring believes the proposed Family Center site is perfect.

"We don't want to create a 'we' and 'they' attitude between the Villages and the rest of the area," she said. "The Family Center needs to be inclusive."

Loring believes pedestrian safety, especially for school children, from Fort Barrette Road to Kapolei Parkway on Kamaaha Avenue is an issue that needs to be addressed.

There are no caution lights, speed bumps or stops along the nearly one-mile stretch. Nothing to make drivers think about slowing down, Loring says.

"When the middle school opens, there will be 900 more students," she added. "We've asked for traffic lights, but the city and county says it's not in the budget.

"The state is the developer. It's boils down to who's going to pay for safety."

Other 1999 KOA winners were:

Bullet Martha Makaiwi, lifetime service award.

Makaiwi, a member of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board, has been an active community volunteer for 26 years.

Bullet Aloun, Somphone, Mike and Alec Sou, entrepreneurship award.

The Sous, owners and managers of Aloun Farms, work over 1,640 acres and produce 30 different crops. They employ 85 full-time and 25 part-time employees and generate $4 million in annual sales.

Bullet Ihilani Resort & Spa, environment award.

The resort is recognized for its aggressive recycling and resource conservation programs; environmental education programs for employees, guests and Kapolei school children; and participation in the Department of Transportation's "Adopt a Highway" program.

Bullet Gentry Homes Ltd., education award.

The company has set up school-to-work internships and scholarships for students from Kapolei, and donated new equipment, manpower and building materials to improve area schools.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin